Turns out the world’s oldest fossils are even older after a research team found stromatolites roughly 3.49 billion years old in Western Australia. This is roughly a billion years after scientists say the Earth was formed.
Stromatolites can live in a variety of environments including underwater and on the shore ways and they are examples of the earliest form of the Earth’s inhabitants and it’s quite cool what the research team discovered in Australia.
The team was lead by Nora Noffke, a bio-geochemist from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virgina, and she tells the Washington Post why the finding was so extraordinary.
“These structures represent an entire ecosystem of surprising diversity,” she also explains the microbes that created these fossilized structure, ““are the oldest fossils ever described. Those are our oldest ancestors.”
The findings were presented by Noffke and her team at the Geological Society of America meeting and as the Washington Post reports it’s exciting findings indeed:
“It’s not just finding this stuff that’s interesting,” says Alan Decho, a geobiologist at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. “It’s showing that the life had some organization to it.” Ridges that crisscross the rocks like strands in a spider web hint that primitive bacteria linked up in sprawling networks. Like their modern counterparts, they may have lived in the equivalent of microbial cities that hosted thousands of kinds of bacteria, each specialized for a different task and communicating with the others via chemical signals. (except from the Washington Post)
There’s no doubt those who believe in the Christian Science behind the evolution and age of the world we live in will dispute these findings but that’s the kind of diversity that makes this life wonderful. [ Source ]