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Tiny creatures that lived in the dark—either underground or below the sea floor—were the dominant life forms on Earth for much of the planet's history, a study suggests.
Microscopic organisms, including bacteria, were the most abundant forms of life on Earth from about 2 billion years ago until 400 million years ago, when plants began to spread across the land, researchers say.
Era - Organisms - Times - Life - Planet
During this era, these organisms weighed around 10 times as much as all other life on the planet combined, according to the study, which offers insight into the evolution of life on Earth.
Researchers from the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh used data on the current make-up of life on the planet to work out how this has changed over billions of years.
Changes - Chemical - Composition - Atmosphere - Oceans
They did this by estimating how changes to the chemical composition of the atmosphere and oceans through time – which are recorded in rocks found around the world – would have affected the ability of different life forms to thrive.
Life on Earth is thought to have begun around 3.8 billion years ago with single-celled organisms. Dinosaurs first appeared around 230 million years ago, and...
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