Hard Science

Oxygen: A Look At How Life Created O2

Life doesn't just breathe in the atmosphere that it has, breathing makes the atmosphere.

The diversity of life is what keeps biologists so busy. But despite our differences, we share a few things with the many other organisms on this planet—one of them being the need to breathe.

This connection is one that goes back billions of years, to the origins of life itself (on our planet, anyways). And remarkably, life doesn’t just breathe the atmosphere that it has, breathing made the atmosphere. As it evolves, life doesn’t just adapt to an environment—given enough time, evolution can actually adapt the environment itself.

Explore the humbling origins of our simplest daily task of breathing in this episode.

Credits and other nifty things:

Written, narrated, and edited by Daniel James Barker

Additional narration by Jeff Barker

Music by (in order of appearance): PogoLyndsie AlguireMystifiedOcelotChris ZabriskieRngmnnJoseph Barker

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