Oxygen may have been present on Earth 300 million years before it was breathed into the atmosphere, scientists concluded from a new research.
Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered evidence that small aerobic organisms could have evolved to survive on extremely low levels of the gas in undersea "oxygen oases," keeping a low profile in the oceans before its debut in the atmosphere.
Former MIT graduate student Jacob Waldbauer, together with Professor of Geobiology Roger Summons and Dianne Newman, formerly of MIT's Department of Biology and now at the California Institute of Technology, found through lab experiments that yeast has the ability to produce key oxygen-dependent compounds, even with only minuscule puffs of the gas.
Early ancestors of yeast, therefore, could have worked even with tiny amounts of oxygen in the oceans, before the "Great Oxidation Event" nearly 2.3 billion years ago when oxygen was detectable in the atmosphere.
The researchers suggested that oxygen may have existed 300 million years before spiking in the atmosphere, and that oxygen may have been sufficient enough to feed aerobic, sterol-producing organisms.
TVNL Comment: Shhhh....don't tell the Bible thumpers. Truth hurts...