Research Articles

Microfossils of the Early Archean Apex Chert: New Evidence of the Antiquity of Life

Science  30 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5108, pp. 640-646
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5108.640


Eleven taxa (including eight heretofore undescribed species) of cellularly preserved filamentous microbes, among the oldest fossils known, have been discovered in a bedded chert unit of the Early Archean Apex Basalt of northwestern Western Australia. This prokaryotic assemblage establishes that trichomic cyanobacterium-like microorganisms were extant and morphologically diverse at least as early as ∼3465 million years ago and suggests that oxygen-producing photoautotrophy may have already evolved by this early stage in biotic history.

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