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Article
Nature 382, 127 - 132 (11 July 1996); doi:10.1038/382127a0

Late Proterozoic rise in atmospheric oxygen concentration inferred from phylogenetic and sulphur-isotope studies

Donald E. Canfield & Andreas Teske*

Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Celsiusstrasse 1, Bremen 28359, Germany
*Present address: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Biology Department, Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543, USA.

The evolution of non-photosynthetic sulphide-oxidizing bacteria was contemporaneous with a large shift in the isotopic composition of biogenic sedimentary sulphides between 0.64 and 1.05 billion years ago. Both events were probably driven by a rise in atmospheric oxygen concentrations to greater than 5–18% of present levels—a change that may also have triggered the evolution of animals.

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