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Protection against arsenic damage in organisms positioned deep in the tree of life points to early evolutionary sensitization. Here, marine sedimentary records reveal a Proterozoic arsenic concentration patterned to glacial-interglacial ages. The low glacial and high interglacial sedimentary arsenic concentrations, suggest deteriorating habitable marine conditions may have coincided with atmospheric oxygen decline after ∼2.1 billion years ago. A similar intensification of near continental margin sedimentary arsenic levels after the Cryogenian glaciations is also associated with amplified continental weathering. However, interpreted atmospheric oxygen increase at this time, suggests that the marine biosphere had widely adapted to the reorganization of global marine elemental cycles by glaciations. Such a glacially induced biogeochemical bridge would have produced physiologically robust communities that enabled increased oxygenation of the ocean-atmosphere system and the radiation of the complex Ediacaran-Cambrian life.
Fru, E. C., Arvestål, E., Callac, N., El Albani, A., Kilias, S., Argyraki, A., & Jakobsson, M. (2015). Arsenic stress after the Proterozoic glaciations. Scientific Reports, 5. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep17789