A BRIEF HISTORY OF LIFE ON EARTH. Objectives. The Ever- Changing Earth

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1 A BRIEF HISTORY OF LIFE ON EARTH Objectives Describe how Earth s environment has changed over the past 4 billion years. Identify the minimum requirements for life. Describe the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. Define the theory of natural selection and how evolution works. Describe several ways in which fossils form. Describe the dramatic change in Earth s biota during the Cambrian Period. The Ever- Changing Earth Changes in the atmosphere and hydrosphere Early atm. had no O 2 Oldest bacteria: 3.5 by Blue-green algae-2.5by, Photosynthesis Banded iron formation by 1

2 The Ever-Changing Earth Photosynthesis A chemical reaction whereby plants use light energy to induce carbon dioxide to react with water, producing carbohydrates and oxygen Oxygen content increases in the atmosphere Banded iron formations formed during the transition to more oxygen rich atm. Cyanobacteria (algae) produced the oxygen initially. They formed the first fossils, which were mounds of calcium carbonate (stromatolites) The Ever-Changing Earth 2

3 Oxygen content in the atmosphere increased starting around 200 my. The deposition of large amounts of organic matter on shallow marine shelves due to plate tectonics may have allowed this increase. Archean and proterozoic life Prokaryote A single celled organism with no distinct nucleus or, no membrane separates its DNA from the rest of the cell- all bacteria are prokaryotes Early Life Eukaryote An organism composed of eukaryotic cells- Cells have a well defined nucleus Early Life 3

4 Evolution and the Fossil Record Evolution The theory that life on earth has developed gradually, from one or a few simple organisms to more complex organisms Charles Darwin On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection Evolution and the Fossil Record Natural selection Individuals that are well adapted to their environment have a survival advantage They then pass on their favorable characteristics to their offspring Species A population of genetically and/or morphologically similar individuals that can interbreed and produce fertile offspring How fossils form Fossil Remains of an organism from a past age Embedded/ preserved in rock; Trace fossil Fossilized evidence of an organism s life processes Includes tracks, footprints, and burrows 4

5 The Paleozoic era Began 542 million years ago with the Cambrian period, a time of incredible diversification of life; known as the Cambrian explosion Development of hard skeletons allowed much more widespread preservation as fossils. trilobite From sea to land (any organism) Must have structural support Must have internal aquatic environment Must be able to exchange gases with air instead of water 5

6 Plants (first to move from ocean to land) Land plants evolved from algae 600 million years ago Vascular plants evolved in the Silurian period ( my); stems and limbs Stomata (openings in leaves for gas exchange) Earliest plants were seedless: mosses and ferns Gymnosperm ( my) A naked-seed plant Sexual reproduction Ginkos and conifers Requires spreading of pollen for reproduction Fossil and modern ginko; naked seed plant. Flowering plants and trees; much later; Cretaceous time ( my); angiospermsseed enclosed Arthropods First creatures to make the transition from sea to land Small, light and covered in a hard shell called chitin Modern arthropods include crabs, spiders, centipedes and insects 6

7 Fishes and amphibians Chordates Must have at least a primitive version of a spinal cord First fish to venture onto land may have been a member of an obscure order- Crossopterygii First terrestrial chordates, amphibians, have never become fully independent of aquatic environment (originated in Devonian). coelacanth lungfish The Mesozoic Era Angiosperm A flowering, or seed-enclosed, plant Reptiles, birds and Mammals One branch of amphibians evolved into reptiles, the first fully terrestrial animal Amniotic eggs Dinosaurs and birds appeared in the Jurassic period 96% of all species became extinct at the end of the Paleozoic (the great dying). Archaeopteryx-early bird. First mammals; cretaceous. 7

8 Mass extinction A catastrophic episode in which a large fraction of living species become extinct within a geologically short time Most famous mass extinction occurred 65 million years ago. An estimated 70% of all species died out. The Cenozoic Era The departure of the dinosaurs gave mammals a chance to grow and diversify Mammals also benefitted from high oxygen levels in the atmosphere, larger brain sizes continued to evolve The human family evolved Australopithecus (walked upright) my Homo Erectus 1.8 my-300,00 y Homo Neanderthalensis 230,000-30,000 Homo sapiens Mass extinction A catastrophic episode in which a large fraction of living species become extinct within a geologically short time Most famous mass extinction occurred 65 million years ago. An estimated 70% of all species died out. 8

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