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Glaciations, continental drift and the tempo of evolution

Posted by hofreiter on 28 Feb 2007 at 12:00 GMT

Having served as academic editor for this paper I would like to make a few comments on it. What I like best about this paper is that it provides a fresh look at known data trying to give an explanation for a certain phenomenon, the large glacial cycles. That longer cryogenic periods occurred during Earth’s history has been known for a long time, as well as the other data used by the authors. What is the merit of this paper is to put the various data together and develop a hypothesis that explains both the occurrence of glaciations as well as the speed of evolutionary change. In their article, the authors neatly combine geological and biological data which is also not that common. So I think the authors provide an interesting hypothesis that touches on many aspects of earth’s history and the evolution of complex organisms. Certainly, this hypothesis may prove to be wrong, but it is worth discussion and evaluation. It is also interesting to think about the implications for life on other planets outside our solar system, although personally I think given the fact that there are many aspects of terrestrial life that are still not fully understood, science should first deal with life of which we know it exists.