A landmark scientific study co-authored by a Canadian geologist has identified a sudden explosion of mineral diversity after the emergence of life on Earth, and advanced a "revolutionary" theory that rocks have been evolving - much like plants and animals - throughout the planet's history.
Wouter Bleeker, an Ottawa-based researcher with the Geological Survey of Canada, is one of eight members of an international team whose theory of "mineral evolution" - the idea that many of the Earth's rocks are dynamic "species" which emerged and transformed over time, largely in concert with living things - is generating a major buzz in the global scientific community since its publication last week in a U.S. journal.
"The key message," Bleeker told Canwest News Service, "is how closely intertwined the mineral world is with life and biology." He said human teeth - with their key ingredient of apatite - are vivid reminders that the "seemingly static, inorganic" physical Earth should be viewed more like a "living organism" underpinning the biosphere.
Most of us avoid the word Gaia, because it's usually bleated incomprehendingly by mouth-breathing disillusioned underachievers who lack all sincerity, but this is what we're seeing: life is a mathematical property of the universe, and of matter. Don't look now but Schopenhauer told you first.