Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Kate Conner
Last updated: September 11, 2019
The Cambrian periodlaunches a significant burst of life on Earth. Beginning about 542 millionyears ago, the “Cambrian explosion” occurs within the period and bringsincredible evolutionary changes with it. The explosion (which was named an “explosion”because of the relatively small amount of time the animal diversity emerged)brought new life including many major animals that are still a part of ourearth today. Among those animals were vertebrate animals that include humanbeings (Chordata) and others such as brachiopods (clams), arthropods (spiders),insects and crustaceans. Over the years, manyhypotheses have been raised to explain the so called rapid diversification ofthe animal species.
Some scientists argued that a high rise of oxygen sparkedthe change, while others may agree with the thought that explosion happenedbecause of the development of key evolutionary/environmental innovation. Inrecent years there has been several discoveries about the ending of theEdiacaran that could indicate many early theories were too simplistic, and thatthe Cambrian explosion happened due to more of a multifaceted relationshipbetween environmental changes that eventually led to evolutionary developments.It was inferred that this was a process that indeed a gradually occurs and didnot happen as rapidly as originally thought. The actual or direct cause maynever be known for certain because not much is known about the chemical andphysical environment of that time. Recently scientists have begun to think thata small and possibly temporary increase in oxygen supply (that is close inproximity to today’s sea surface concentrations) crossed into a ecologicalthreshold, enabling these animals to develop over time. While living in the year2017, there are constant changes in our lives and the earth around us.
It canbe easy to not realize complex animals are still relatively new to Earth.Single celled organisms such as Diatom and E.coli ruled the Earth most of the 3billion years life has existed on the planet. These organisms thrived inenvironments that lacked oxygen but were plentiful in compounds such as carbondioxide and sulfur related molecules that are used as oxidizing mediators tobreak down food. Much of the world’s microbial biosphere still thrives on thesesame concepts today. However, on the opposite end of the spectrum, animalsthrive on oxygen and need it to survive so, the process of metabolizing foodwhile oxygen is in the equation creates more energy than the process of asingle cell organism. Animals must have this interaction to drive all theawesome muscles, nervous systems and the tools of defense and carnivory whichare the exoskeletons and teeth. Deciphering the amounts of oxygen levels incertain environments could also help scientists learn more about appearances ofthe complex animals.
By understanding this, scientist can also infer more aboutthe animal fossils found in the same locations. In conclusion, it can besaid that there is much controversy over the cause and ideas surrounding theCambrian Explosion, but it can also be said that regardless of how this hugeimpulse of life came to be, it will remain something that is significant tomuch the life that is here on our planet today.