Solution to the Gaia Hypothesis

1 Replies, 833 Views

Sequoyah Kennedy at MU reports on a recent paper by scientists that propose a solution to Gaia Hypothesis puzzle.

See:
Solution to the Gaia Hypothesis Puzzle Shows How Earth Could Function as a Living Organism
Quote:First proposed by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 1970’s, the Gaia hypothesis is an attempt to explain how Earth has managed to sustain life in the face of the multitudes of cosmic and terrestrial cataclysms that have befallen our pale blue dot throughout the approximately 3.8 billion years since our very first single celled ancestors started this whole mess.

Essentially, the Gaia hypothesis (named for the Greek goddess who personified our planet) states that organic life interacting with non-organic materials—like the rock that makes up Earth’s crust—creates conditions that allow life to persist. Another way to say it is that Earth functions just like any other multi-cellular organism, with self regulating processes and systems that make sure that the whole thing doesn’t fall to pieces the next time it gets smacked with a space rock or some of its constituent parts go rogue and start tearing up the joint. (...)

Writing in The Conversation, co-authors of the paper Tim Lenton and James Dyke say that the key may lie in the concept of “sequential-selection”: In principle it’s very simple. As life emerges on a planet it begins to affect environmental conditions, and this can organise into stabilising states which act like a thermostat and tend to persist, or destabilising runaway states such as the snowball Earth events that nearly extinguished the beginnings of complex life more than 600m years ago. If it stabilises then the scene is set for further biological evolution that will in time reconfigure the set of interactions between life and planet.

Here's the paper highlights:
Selection for Gaia across Multiple Scales
(This post was last modified: 2018-07-14, 04:33 AM by Ninshub.)
[-] The following 3 users Like Ninshub's post:
  • Laird, Brian, stephenw
Have just returned to this idea after many years.  Some time before I learned about The Gaia Hypothesis, it occured to me that everything seems to interact with everything else to produce balance.  It was interesting to find out that a scientist had hypothesised much the same but I didn't look any deeper into it.  It's awesome to know that it is still being taken seriously.
[-] The following 2 users Like Brian's post:
  • Ninshub, stephenw

  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)