Saturday, July 27, 2013

Earth's first fossils neither vegetation nor animal

Diskagma buttonii fossils are the size of match heads and were found connected into bunches by threads in the surface of an ancient soil from South Africa. (Credit: Courtesy of Gregory Retallack)

Conventional scientific wisdom has it that plants and other creatures have only lived on land for about 500 million years, and that landscapes of the early Earth were as barren as Mars.

A new study, led by geologist Gregory J. Retallack of the University of Oregon, now has presented evidence for life on land that is four times as old -- at 2.2 billion years ago and almost half way back to the inception of the planet.

That evidence, which is detailed in the September issue of the journal Precambrian Research, involves fossils the size of match heads and connected into bunches by threads in the surface of an ancient soil from South Africa. They have been named Diskagma buttonii, meaning "disc-shaped fragments of Andy Button," but it is unsure what the fossils were, the authors say.

Read it all here.

 

2 comments:

DDeden said...

The cuplike form on top might relate to a primitive light sensor.

With the advent of a lens & extra-ocular muscles, spatial imaging
information became available for central processing, and gave rise to
vision in vertebrates >500 Ma.


Progress in Retinal & Eye Research
online 18.6.13


Evolution of phototransduction, vertebrate photoreceptors and retina
Trevor D Lamb 2013
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.preteyeres.2013.06.001

Alice Linsley said...

That could be. Cool idea.