Plants are crucial for the existence of complex life. Without all those green landscapes that we can see pretty much everywhere, there would be no oxygen for us to breathe. However, carbon is pretty much just as important as oxygen, as both elements exist in amino acids, along with hydrogen and nitrogen.
Carbon is also responsible for regulating our planet’s temperature over millions of years. According to News18.com, a new study has shown that scientists from Yale University and University College London have found that the carbon cycle went through significant changes roughly 400 million years ago, which led to a cooler planet.
Two major causes?
The shift “appears to be linked to two major biological innovations at the time: the spread of plants on land and the growth of marine organisms that extract silicon from water to create their skeletons and cells walls,” according to Philip Pogge von Strandmann, the senior author of the study, as he was quoted by News18.com.
Scientists believe that the cyclic change played a major role in accelerating the evolution of complex life forms. The cyclic change in question is the one occurring before the plants caused the cycle of Earth’s atmosphere.
There are plenty of interesting and undeniable facts about carbon. The element is considered the “duct tape of life”, as it loves to bond. Carbon is also one of the most abundant elements from the known Universe, and about 20 percent of every person’s body consists of carbon.
According to a report from a few years ago carried out by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and that the BBC wrote about, researchers have estimated that there’s a total of 390,900 plants known to science. According to the same study, 2,034 new species of plants were discovered only in 2015.