If you want a role model for work ethic in the animal kingdom, you’d do well to pick the ant. Maintaining tunnels, gathering food, and defending the colony are all in a solid day’s work. Now you might be able to cross off another item on the ant to-do list: pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
Over geologic timescales, the Earth has a convenient regulator on its thermostat: the weathering of many minerals. During their breakdown, they react with carbon dioxide, which converts them into a clay mineral while also producing carbonate. In a warmer climate, weathering ramps up, removing more CO2 from the atmosphere. This provides a cooling influence. In a cooler climate, weathering slows and CO2 can accumulate in the atmosphere, nudging temperatures upwards.
Some of this is simply the result of physical weathering of exposed rock at the surface, but living organisms contribute as well. Tree roots penetrate cracks and pry rocks apart. Lichens and fungi in soil slowly dissolve rock. Burrowing things move material around.
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