Fossil Membranes and Cell Wall Fragments from a 7000-Year-Old Black Sea Sediment

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Science  05 Jun 1970:
Vol. 168, Issue 3936, pp. 1207-1208
DOI: 10.1126/science.168.3936.1207


Lamellar and tubular membranes and orgacnic fragments resemnbling bacterial cell walls were abundant in Black Sea sediments deposited between 3000 and 7000 years ago. This time period was marked by a gradual transition from a freshwater to a seawater environment. The resulting salinity gradient in the interstitial solutions probably promoted natural chromatography and dissolution, redeposition, and preservation of organic molecules. The preservation of organic structures may have resulted from the lack of dissolved oxygen, high concentrations of metal ions, and structural reorganization during compaction.