Earth's Early Oxygen Boost

The steady buildup of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere may have helped life forms become more complex.

By Sorcha McDonagh, 00:00 AM February 9, 2004

Early in Earth's history, our planet was home to only simple creatures—little organisms made up of just one sort of cell. Today, plants and animals can have more than 100 cell types.

How did life forms get so complicated? Scientists at Pennsylvania State University may now have part of the answer. The secret ingredient could be the oxygen in Earth's atmosphere.

Example of a plant cell, stained and viewed under a microscope.

Example of a plant cell, stained and viewed under a microscope.

The researchers found a relationship between the number of cell...

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