Significance of the Gunflint (Precambrian) Microflora

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Science  02 Apr 1965:
Vol. 148, Issue 3666, pp. 27-35
DOI: 10.1126/science.148.3666.27


Several categories of biological microstructures 1.9± billion years old are here described, illustrated, and referred to a group of early thallophytes that includes the thread bacteria and the blue-green algae. These microstructures were almost surely autotrophic and in the line of evolution toward green-plant photosynthesis, if not themselves oxygen producers. Geochemical evidence has been interpreted by some to imply that the contemporaneous atmosphere was essentially anoxygenic (reducing), and by others to indicate an atmosphere rich in oxygen. These conflicting interpretations may be reconciled by a hypothesis, based on demonstrable fossil organisms, that calls for local centers of biologic oxygen generation.

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