The reason came from space.
Ancient supernova might play a role in the fact that the ancestors of humans began walking on two legs. According to scientists, a devastating explosion of stars on the stages of death showered the Earth with cosmic radiation about 2.6 to 8 million years ago. And when this cosmic radiation has reached the lower layers of the atmosphere of our planet, this led to ionization, whereby the number of lightning capable of reaching the Earth’s surface has increased sharply, reports the Chronicle.info with reference to UNIAN.
It could lead to many forest fires across the planet. According to scientists, this, in turn, became one of the factors in the transition of the ancestors of the people to move on two legs. In fact, this ability allowed them to better adapt to life in the Savannah after escaping from a forest fire in the North-East of Africa.
“It is believed that there was a definite tendency of apes to walk on two legs, even before those events. But they were still mostly adapted to climbing trees,” says a scientist from the University of Kansas is Adrian Melott.
“After this transition in the Savannah they had often to go from one tree to another through the grass. Therefore, it was advantageous to walk upright. So they could see over the top of the grass, not whether approaching predators. It is believed that the transition to the Savannah has made a great contribution to the development of the habit of going directly from the ancestors of the people,” he explained.
His team of researchers found a layer of iron-60 on the seabed across the globe. This, according to scientists, indicates that the supernova exploded in 163 light years from Earth in the period between the Pliocene and late Glacier period.
“We have calculated the ionization of the atmosphere due to cosmic radiation from supernovae on the basis of deposits of iron-60. Looks like it was closest to the blast in a number of cases,” said Melott.
“We argue that this increased ionization in the lower atmosphere 50 times. That usually doesn’t happen. Because the space the radiation does not penetrate as deeply into the atmosphere. However, the rays from the supernova could reach the planet’s surface. Therefore, a large number of electrons were knocked out of the atmosphere”, — said the scientist.
According to the researchers, this led to the fact that the cases, when the lightning reached the ground and set fire to forests, have increased significantly on the planet. This is indicated by deposits of coal worldwide, which arose approximately at the same time, when there was discovered a supernova.
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“Several million years ago in different climatic zones suddenly there were deposits of coal and soot. And no one till this time could not explain why this happened. Here is the explanation,” said Melott.