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A new study hints at a possible fascinating twist in human evolution. Did a chain of cosmic events triggered by a nearby ancient supernova force humans to walk upright?
The study, out earlier this year, points to an unlikely source for modern human bipedal locomotion: the effect on our environment of a nearby supernova or series of supernovae. The study, titled From Cosmic Explosions to Terrestrial Fires? was published in The Journal of Geology.
Mechanism - Star - Human - Head - Nutshell
If the proposed mechanism that takes you from an exploding star to an upright human leaves you scratching your head, you’re not alone. In a nutshell, the idea runs like this: A supernova detonates nearby—say within a 150 to 300 light-year radius of our solar system—showering Earth and the nearby vicinity with energetic cosmic rays. This, in turn, showers Earth’s atmosphere with highly energetic particles, raising the frequency of lightning strikes.
Now, lightning is the biggest natural ignition source for wildfires. More lightning means more wildfires, accelerating the creation of treeless savanna. If you’re hunting upright on the savanna, you have an advantage of seeing prey at a distance. This new environment would have selected for a random mutation allowing for our ancestors to run down prey. Along with our endurance (our ability to sweat), walking upright allows you to succeed on the savanna.
Speculation - Gene - Mutation - Chromosome - Allows
There is speculation that a gene mutation on chromosome 17 allows humans to walk upright. Of course, as with many adaptations in evolution, this comes at a cost, including all the maladies and back problems modern humans experience.
The study cites an increase in the number of lightning strikes seen in carbon levels in the geological record, and an increase “(in the) iron-60 (isotope) at Earth, and the existence of the Local Bubble,” researcher Adrian Melott (Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Kansas) told Universe Today,...
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