Supernovae that bombarded the earth millions of years ago with cosmic energy may have led our old ancestors to walk upright.
Electrons from the energy released from the exploding stars caused a wave of lightning strikes, according to a new study.
Researchers say that these strikes have ignited forest fires around the world and caused people to adapt to savannas that replaced the scorched growth.
Already eight million years ago prehistoric people or proto-people lived their lives on hand and foot before they went to two.
Exactly why and when our distant ancestors stood upright and started moving around two feet, there is still much debate among scientists.
This study, from the University of Kansas, claims that this was a domino effect of the supernova, stars that reached the end of their lives, during the transition from the Pliocene era to the ice age.
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A new article from a researcher at the University of Kansas suggests that bipedalism came into existence when old supernovas caused lightning that burned the forests of the earth and led the ancestors to walk upright.
The cosmic energy that started no less than 8 million years ago, with a peak of around 2.6 million years ago, caused an avalanche of electrons in the lower atmosphere.
The theory says that as a result, atmospheric ionization caused by the cosmic waves began with lightning strikes, resulting in forest fires in Northeast Africa.
The forests were then replaced by vast areas with a wide-spread ecosystem, meaning that the old humanoids did not have to climb trees.
It is for this reason that the researchers say that human evolution took place.
Prior to this event, lead author Adrian Melott, emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas, already had a tendency for hominins to walk on two legs.
& # 39; But they were mainly adapted to climb trees. After this conversion to savannah, they would have to walk from one tree to the other over the grassland much more often, and so they would be better to walk upright.
& # 39; They could look over the tops of grass and look out for predators. It is believed that this conversion to the savannah contributed to bipedalism as it became more and more dominant in human ancestors. & # 39;
Based on a meaningful & # 39; layer of iron 60 deposits along the seabeds of the world, supernovae astronomers have exploded with high confidence in the vicinity of the earth during the transition from the Pliocene era to the ice age.
Iron-60 is extremely rare on this planet with no known natural means to produce it, which leaves arrival from space as the logical origin.
The team calculated the ionization of the atmosphere from cosmic rays that would come from a supernova about as far away as the iron-60 deposits indicate, & # 39; said Professor Melott.
Ionization is the process by which an atom or a molecule receives a negative or positive charge by acquiring or losing electrons.
& # 39; Normally you don't get ionization in a lower atmosphere because cosmic rays don't penetrate that far, but the more energetic ions of supernova come all the way to the surface – so a lot of electrons would be knocked out of the atmosphere, & # 39 ; he said.
Ionization in the lower atmosphere meant that an abundance of electrons would form more avenues for lightning strikes, according to professor Melott.
Already eight million years ago prehistoric people or proto-people lived their lives on hand and foot before they went to two. Exactly why and when our distant ancestors stood upright and moved about on two feet, much is still being discussed. Here, artist & # 39; s impression
& # 39; When high-energy cosmic rays hit atoms and molecules in the atmosphere, they strike electrons out – so these electrons move around rather than being bound to atoms.
In the lightning process there is an accumulation of tension between clouds or the clouds and the ground.
The current cannot flow because there are not enough electrons to carry it, so it must build a high voltage before the electrons start moving.
These knock more electrons from more atoms and it builds up into a lightning flash.
But with this ionization, that process can start much more easily, so there would be many more lightning bolts.
The chance that a lightning start causes an upward movement in natural fires is supported by the discovery of carbon deposits in soils.
The team discovered that these soils corresponded to the timing of the cosmic radiation bombing, giving them more faith in their theory.
The observation is that a few million years ago there is much more charcoal and soot in the world, & said Professor Melott.
& # 39; It's everywhere and nobody has any explanation as to why it would have happened in different climate zones around the world.
Such an event is unlikely to occur again.
The closest star that could explode into a supernova in the next million years is Betelgeuse, about 652 light years away from Earth.
WHAT IS A SUPERNOVA AND HOW IS THE FORM?
A supernova is created when a star explodes and shoots debris and particles into space.
A supernova only burns for a short time, but it can tell scientists a lot about how the universe started.
A kind of supernova has shown scientists that we live in an expanding universe, one that is growing at an ever-increasing pace.
Scientists have also found that supernovae play a key role in spreading elements throughout the universe.
In 1987, astronomers discovered a & # 39; titanic supernova & # 39; in a nearby galaxy that flared with the power of more than 100 million suns (photo)
Two types of supernova are known.
The first type occurs in binary star systems when one of the two stars, a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, steals matter from its companion star.
Eventually the white dwarf collects too much matter, causing the star to explode, resulting in a supernova.
The second type of supernova occurs at the end of the life of a single star.
Because the star no longer has nuclear fuel, part of its mass flows to the core.
Ultimately, the core is so heavy that it cannot bear its own gravitational force and the core collapses, resulting in a new gigantic explosion.
Many elements found on Earth are made in the core of stars and these elements continue to form new stars, planets and everything else in the universe.
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