A new investigation that showed the supernova that happened 2.6 million years ago may have touched on climate change and sparked massive extinctions of large oceanic animals such as Megalodon.
In an interview with Xinhua on Sunday, Adrian Melott, emérito professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas, said it could have been one or a series of supernovae occurring about 150 light years away from Earth.
The supernova is the explosion of a star that has reached the end of his life. It could shine the entire galaxies briefly and radiate more energy than the sun throughout its lifespan. It is also the main source of heavy elements in the universe.
According to NASA, the supernova is the biggest explosion the man has ever seen.
Melott, lead author of the document that he just published in Astrobiology, said that three types of marine fund deposits, including iron-60 isotopes, provided the evidence "slam-dunk" of time and distance of supernovae
There was no other way for iron-60 to reach the Earth but rather a supernova, he said.
The Melott team has been investigating for about 15 years.
The energy of the supernova that extended the 60-iron layers around the world also caused penetrating particles called muons for the Earth, causing cancers and mutations, especially to larger animals.
"We estimated that the percentage of cancer will rise to around 50 percent for something that is the size of a human being. And the bigger the worse it is. For an elephant or a whale, the dose of radiation rises, "he said.
A supernova of 2.6 million years may be related to a megafaunal marine extinction on the Pliocene-Pleistocene border, where 36% of the genera are estimated to be extinct, according to the research.
"High energy muons can deepen into that the oceans are the most relevant agent of biological damage as the depth increases," the document said.
"One of the extinctions that happened 2.6 million years ago was Megalodon," Melott said. "We can speculate that it might have something to do with the muons. Basically, the higher the creature, the higher the radiation rise."