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Microbially induced sedimentary structures (MISS) result from the response of microbial mats to physical sediment dynamics. MISS are cosmopolitan and found in many modern environments, including shelves, tidal flats, lagoons, riverine shores, lakes, interdune areas, and sabkhas. The structures record highly diverse communities of microbial mats and have(More)
The rock record provides us with unique evidence for testing models as to when and where cellular life first appeared on Earth. Its study, however, requires caution. The biogenicity of stromatolites and 'microfossils' older than 3.0 Gyr should not be accepted without critical analysis of morphospace and context, using multiple modern techniques, plus(More)
Micron-sized cavities created by the actions of rock-etching microorganisms known as euendoliths are explored as a biosignature for life on early Earth and perhaps Mars. Rock-dwelling organisms can tolerate extreme environmental stresses and are excellent candidates for the colonization of early Earth and planetary surfaces. Here, we give a brief overview(More)
The context for the emergence of life on Earth sometime prior to 3.5 billion years ago is almost as big a puzzle as the definition of life itself. Hitherto, the problem has largely been addressed in terms of theoretical and experimental chemistry plus evidence from extremophile habitats like modern hydrothermal vents and meteorite impact structures. Here,(More)
The 3426-3350 Ma Strelley Pool Formation (SPF) is a silicified, dominantly sedimentary unit within the Pilbara Supergroup, Western Australia. It is found widely across the East Pilbara Terrane, and it forms a prominent marker horizon and separates the largely volcanic 3520-3427 Ma Warrawoona and 3350-3315 Ma Kelly groups. It has become one of the key(More)
The 1.88-Ga Gunflint biota is one of the most famous Precambrian microfossil lagerstätten and provides a key record of the biosphere at a time of changing oceanic redox structure and chemistry. Here, we report on pyritized replicas of the iconic autotrophic Gunflintia-Huroniospora microfossil assemblage from the Schreiber Locality, Canada, that help capture(More)
Organic-walled microfossils provide the best insights into the composition and evolution of the biosphere through the first 80 percent of Earth history. The mechanism of microfossil preservation affects the quality of biological information retained and informs understanding of early Earth palaeo-environments. We here show that 1 billion-year-old(More)
New analytical approaches and discoveries are demanding fresh thinking about the early fossil record. The 1.88-Ga Gunflint chert provides an important benchmark for the analysis of early fossil preservation. High-resolution analysis of Gunflintia shows that microtaphonomy can help to resolve long-standing paleobiological questions. Novel 3D nanoscale(More)
Viruses are the most abundant biological entities throughout marine and terrestrial ecosystems, but little is known about virus-mineral interactions or the potential for virus preservation in the geological record. Here we use contextual metagenomic data and microscopic analyses to show that viruses occur in high diversity within a modern lacustrine(More)
We here show that nano-scale mapping of elements commonly utilized in biological cycles provides a promising new additional line of evidence when evaluating the extent of the contribution of biology to microbialites. Our case study comes from Lake Clifton in Western Australia, a unique environment where living domical and conical microbialites occur in(More)