Originally published at: https://bigideas.network/oxygen/
Twenty-one percent of the air that you’re breathing right now is oxygen. Like most elements it’s the remnant of a supernova explosion, one of the most incredible phenomena in the universe.
Oxygen is one of the most reactive and destructive elements, and when it first started to build up in the Earth’s atmosphere 2.4 billion years ago it almost destroyed all of life.
We are descended from the species that survived that ‘Oxygen Catastrophe’. Here’s what happened…