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Correlation between Snowball Earth and Cambrian Explosion

  1. Mar 6, 2010 #1
    Correlation between "Snowball Earth" and Cambrian Explosion

    I know there is a theory that the earth was once covered in ice that precisely pre-dates the cambrian explosion. is there a leading idea of how snowball earth allowed for the blossoming of multicellular organisms? Did the ice sheets serve as a protective barrier for multicellular organism to evolve? I'm just curious if there are any prevailing theories on this matter. The cambrian explosion is a very mysterious era in evolution and wondering if the global ice sheet had something to do with it or whether snowball earth was just a coincidence.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2010 #2
    Re: Correlation between "Snowball Earth" and Cambrian Explosion

    There are -a lot- of theories regarding the matter, and the murkiness of the issue is complicated somewhat by the uncertainty of estimates regarding the exact dates during which the Earth was entirely covered in ice. We're much more certain about the dates for the radiation of metazoa than we are about the snowball period.

    Last I talked to Joe Kirschvink, he was open to the idea that the post-Snowball oxygenation created an influx of energy that enabled the phylogenetic radiation of many forms of life, of which animals could certainly have been a part. But no one really knows, and I think the scientific community has a while before we formulate any falsifiable hypotheses on the matter.
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