I was wondering, what would it be like if instead of an oxidizing atmosphere like earth has, if an ecosystem had a reducing atmosphere instead? My professor told us that a system like that could be chemically/biologically possible. But didn't explain how. What would interaction between organisms and their reducing surroundings be like? How would these organisms survive?

I know that this means there would be an extreme lack of oxygen, and as far as I can tell, most everything on earth needs oxygen to survive. There are complex organic molecules that can be created in a reduced atmosphere, right? What are they?

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    $\begingroup$ Such ecosystems exist on Earth! See this Wikipedia post on anaerobic organisms. There are even some species that cannot tolerate oxygen. Also, welcome to Chemistry.SE :) $\endgroup$ – airhuff Jun 4 '17 at 1:13
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    $\begingroup$ The early earth did have this kind of atmosphere before! Such an atmosphere consisted of ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen. Lightning strikes converted some of the atmospheric gases into amino acids and carbohydrates. Then happened a Great Oxygenation Event, that made the atmosphere suddenly oxidizing instead. See en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxygenation_Event $\endgroup$ – Pritt Balagopal Jun 4 '17 at 5:04
  • $\begingroup$ Saturn's moon Titan, maybe? $\endgroup$ – Oscar Lanzi Jun 4 '17 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ What would it be like if humans were able to be anaerobic organisms? Is that completely illogical? $\endgroup$ – Kiera Jun 5 '17 at 2:49

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