Earth’s Fluctuating Orbit May Be Impacting Evolution, New Evidence Suggests

As our living ark swings around the Sun, its current loop is fairly circular. But Earth’s orbit isn’t as stable as you may think.

Every 405,000 years, our planet’s orbit stretches out and becomes 5 percent elliptical, before returning to a more even path.


We’ve long understood this cycle, known as orbital eccentricity, drives changes in the global climate, but exactly how this impacts life on Earth was unknown.

Now, new evidence suggests that Earth’s fluctuating orbit could actually impact biological evolution.

A team of scientists led by paleoceanographer Luc Beaufort, from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) have found clues that orbital eccentricity is driving evolutionary bursts of new species, at least in plankton of the photosynthesizing variety…

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