The Atlantic

The Origin Story of Animals Is a Song of Ice and Fire

It begins with the melting of a snowball earth, and the rise of algae.
Source: NASA

Around 717 million years ago, the Earth turned into a snowball. Most of the ocean, if not all of it, was frozen at its surface. The land, which was aggregated into one big supercontinent, was also covered in mile-thick ice. And then, everything changed. Volcanoes released enough carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to trap the sun’s heat and trigger global warming. The ice melted, and the surface of the sea reached temperatures of 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. By 659 million years ago, the world had transformed from snowball to greenhouse. And just 14 million years later, the ice returned and the planet became a snowball for the second time.

This song of ice and fire was a momentous period for life on Earth. According to from the Australian National University, it liberated

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