Paleontologists have discovered in Gabon, the most ancient remains of the multicellular living beings that lived in the seas about 2.1 billion years ago
This publication reports “Hvil”.
“About this time occurred one of the most important events in Earth’s history, the Great oxygen catastrophe. We have been arguing about if they might be connected. Our fossils, despite the discrepancies with the geneticists, I can say in favor of these relationships,” write Donald Canfield (Donald Canfield) from the Center for the study of the evolution of the Earth in Odense (Denmark) and his colleagues.
Scientists now believe that life could appear on Earth three billion years ago, but the first 2.5 billion years of its existence it spent exclusively in the unicellular form. The first multicellular creatures supposedly appeared only 600-650 million years ago, during the ediacaran period, about their lives, thanks to the almost complete absence of their remains, we know almost nothing.
Recently, these ideas began to be doubts. For example, a year ago scientists have found in China a very unusual deposits “coal”, inside which are preserved the prints potentially the first multicellular living beings inhabiting the primary ocean of the Earth about 1.5 billion years ago.
Canfield and his colleagues have pushed back that date by about 600 million years ago into the past, analyzing the unusual structures found in the rocks of the Paleoproterozoic era, which formed around the city of Mansville about 2.1 billion years ago.
These deposits, as noted by Canfield, has attracted public attention about six years ago when his colleagues at the University of Poitiers discovered there are many quaint structures, like the imprint of bodies of multicellular animals.
This discovery has caused a lot of controversy. Some of our colleagues considered the findings of the French paleontologist traces the “normal” bacterial colonies with unusual shapes, while others denied their organic origin, blaming them on deposits of pyrite, sulfur compounds and iron. Those and other skeptics have noted that “habebit” as it was called by the discoverers, did not leave any physical and evolutionary trace, completely disappeared in later periods. Such claims are not stopped scientists and they have continued to carry out excavations on the territory of Gabon. Over the years they’ve found several new prints of various supposedly “multicellular” creatures, similar in shape to the filaments and sheet-like structures.
Two years ago, Canfield and his colleagues were lucky – they managed to find not only eight of the dozens of fossils “gobonobo”, but the traces of their movements on bacterial “blankets”, ustilimsk then the bottom of the shallow waters in the primary ocean of the Earth.
Examining their structure and chemical composition, scientists have shown that leaf fossils do contain traces of organic substances, characteristic for the eukaryotes, multicellular inhabitants of the Earth. In addition, some of them did not contain sulfur, which denied the position of one of the groups of skeptics.
The shape of these fossils and their traces, as the researchers note, suggests that ancient multicellular creatures were moving about the same as amoeba’s “migration” phase of development or primitive slugs secrete mucus and using it to slide on the surface of bacterial blankets.
“It is not clear whether these organisms are a prelude for the further evolution of eukaryotes, or a failed experiment, has not received continuation. On the other hand, in any case they say that complex life forms appeared over a billion years before the first true animals appeared in the late Neoproterozoic,” conclude the paleontologists.