The World’s Oldest Microfossils had BiC characteristics


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 research

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.

The analysis

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.


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