The oldest bacteria on Earth lived in an atmosphere without oxygen

The oldest bacteria on Earth lived in an atmosphere without oxygen


The oldest fossils on Earth, of some bacteria living about 3.4 ago billions of years in an environment devoid of oxygen and prospered thanks to the sulfur compounds were discovered in rocks from western Australia, according A study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.

"We have finally a good show about life with over 3.4 billion last year. It confirms that the bacteria were then living without oxygen," said Professor Martin bra, from Oxford University, who was part of a team of researchers led by David Wacey, the University of Western Australia.

According to the study quoted by AFP, it is "the oldest fossils found on Earth."

Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Life would have appeared on our planet in billions of years ago from 3.5 to 3.8, according to previous studies.

Fossils discovered by David Wacey and his team on one of the oldest beaches on Earth, in an isolated place called Strandley Pool, are associated with microscopic crystals of pyrite, a mineral-based iron sulphide.

These crystals resulting from biological activity (metabolism) of past fossil microorganisms.

Scientists say that "I am very sure of the age" fossils, because the sedimentary rocks that were found are formed between two volcanic periods. "This is limited to a few tens of millions of years' time that fossils could be formed, said Professor bra.

Microfosilele were tested which showed that the rock forms are detected in biological and that they result from a process of mineralization. Cell-like structures can also be observed.

In 3.4 billion years ago, Earth was a hot planet with a strong volcanic activity and ocean temperature reaches between 40 ° C and 50 ° C.

In the current era, says Professor bra, there are still bacteria that use sulfur instead of oxygen to generate energy and to thrive. They are found mostly in warm areas, particularly from the ocean floor hydrothermal craters.

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