The Strelley Pool microfossils represent, perhaps, the oldest discovered fossils. Dating back 3.4 billion years, these fossils apparently had chemical characteristics similar to modern bacteria. This finding is a great step in confirming their biological origin and in making them one of the world’s oldest discovered microfossils.
The team of scientists that made this discovery has presented their work during the Goldschmidt geochemistry convention in Boston and it is also published in the Geochemical Perspectives Letters, the peer-reviewed journal.
Led by Dr. Julien Alleon, the team of scientists managed to find chemical residuals from ancient microfossils and they matched them with the ones from young bacterial fossils. This fact shows the extreme likelihood of them being laid down by early life forms.
Initially, the Strelley Pool microfossils were investigated by using synchrotron-based X-ray absorption analysis and then the resulting data was compared with more recent ones from the Gunflint Formation. These microfossils are only 1.9 billion years old and they were found on the shores of Lake Superior in Ontario, Canada.
Also, modern bacteria were used as another means of comparison. All three samples displayed a similar way of absorption which shows a connection, thus claiming a biological origin. Dr. Alleon thinks that molecular and elemental characteristics of the ancient microfossils correspond with biological remains that are slightly altered by fossilization.
This pretty much indicates a biological origin and the current debate involves finding out if they really are the world’s oldest. In order to confirm it, the same analytical strategy has to be used to other ancient microfossils.
Then, another fact that surprised the team of scientists was the fact that these microfossils endured tough conditions and lasted 3.4 billion years while still letting signs of their original chemistry.
Laura grew up in a small town in northern Quebec. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Laura is an advocate for people with disabilities.