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July 31 2013

Oxygen Brought Earliest Carnivores to Life

Without oxygen, there would be no carnivores. Without carnivores, there would be no Cambrian explosion, the stunning evolutionary burst of diversity in species and body forms that began 540 million years ago.

Those are the findings of a new study that stitches together competing models for why meat-eating appeared simultaneously with the Cambrian explosion. Previously, one camp of scientists had proposed that rising oxygen levels gave animals the extra power to evolve complex body forms.

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