Science news: oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, 5000 t of space dust per year, neolitic grave goods show gendered roles for farmers, emerald production in Roman Egypt

The Xiamaling Formation in China, which contains fossilized algae from primeval times. Photo: Don E. Canfield/University of Southern DenmarkRecent discoveries about our planet, its rocks, and other “stone” topics

(Photo above) A new study shows that show that algae occupied an important role in marine ecosystems 1400 million years ago, some 600 million years earlier than previously recognized. Their evolution dramatically changed the Earth allowing oxygen to accumulate into the atmosphere for the first time and further allowing the evolution of oxygen-utilizing organisms including eukaryotes

Electron micrograph of a Concordia micrometeorite extracted from Antarctic snow at Dome C. Source: Cécile Engrand/Jean DupratEvery year, our planet encounters dust from comets and asteroids. A research program conducted for nearly 20 years has determined that 5,200 tons per year of these micrometeorites reach the ground

Tools found in male graves used during their lifetime for wood working. Source: Universtiy of York
Grave goods show gendered roles for Neolithic farmers. Researchers at the University of York analyzed 400 stone objects found in graves at cemetery sites across Europe and noted there were differences in size, weight, and raw material dependent on whether the body was a male or a female

Materials recovered from the Large Temple: a) "Nubian" head in steatite; b) steatite goddess figurine; c) figurine of a god riding an animal; d) faience Harpocrates amulet; e) bronze Osiris amulet; f) steatite dish. Source: Delia Eguiluz Maestro and Adriana Molina PérezNew evidence regarding emerald production in Roman Egypt coming from Wadi Sikait. Resuming the archaeological season in the Egyptian Eastern Desert provides proof of emerald mines chronicled by authors like Pliny the Elder and Claudius Ptolemy

20.04.2021, USA: 04.20.2021)