Microfossils of sulphur-metabolizing cells in 3.4-billion-year-old rocks of Western Australia

  title={Microfossils of sulphur-metabolizing cells in 3.4-billion-year-old rocks of Western Australia},
  author={David Wacey and Matthew R Kilburn and Martin Saunders and John B. Cliff and Martin D. Brasier},
  journal={Nature Geoscience},
Sulphur isotope data from early Archaean rocks suggest that microbes with metabolisms based on sulphur existed almost 3.5 billion years ago, leading to suggestions that the earliest microbial ecosystems were sulphur-based 1‐5 . However, morphological evidence for these sulphur-metabolizing bacteria has been elusive. Here we report the presence of microstructures from the 3.4-billion-year-old Strelley Pool Formation in Western Australia that are associated with micrometre-sized pyrite crystals… 

Chemical nature of the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool microfossils

The biogenicity of putative traces of life found in early-Archean rocks is strongly debated. To date, only equivocal lines of evidence have been reported, which has prevented a full consensus from

Sulfur isotopes of organic matter preserved in 3.45 Gyr-old stromatolites reveal microbial metabolism

The 3.45-billion-year-old Strelley Pool Formation of Western Aus-tralia preserves stromatolites that are considered among the oldest evidence for life on Earth. In places of exceptional preservation,

Metabolically diverse primordial microbial communities in Earth’s oldest seafloor-hydrothermal jasper

The oldest putative fossils occur as hematite filaments and tubes in jasper-carbonate banded iron formations from the 4280- to 3750-Ma Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt, Québec. If biological in origin,

Cellular Microfossils and Possible Microfossils in the Paleo- and Mesoarchean

Representative Paleo- and Mesoarchean (>3.0 Ga) microfossils and possible microfossils retaining cellular structures from the Pilbara Craton, Western Australia, and the Kaapvaal Craton, South Africa,

Sulfur isotopes of organic matter preserved in 3.45-billion-year-old stromatolites reveal microbial metabolism

Positive Δ33S anomalies suggest that disproportionation of elemental sulfur would have been a prominent microbial process in these communities, and are interpreted as recording the process of sulfurization of organic matter by H2S in heterogeneous mat pore-waters influenced by respiratory S metabolism.

Metamorphic evolution of carbonate-hosted microbial biosignature

Microbial biosignature assemblages captured within mineral substrates experience extreme pressures (P) and temperatures (T) during rock burial and metamorphism. We subjected natural microbial

In situ Morphologic, Elemental and Isotopic Analysis of Archean Life

A number of key questions in Archean palaeobiology require study at the micrometre (µm) to nanometre (nm) scale. These include: identifying the transition from a prebiotic world to one containing

Cyanobacterial calcification in modern microbialites at the submicrometer scale

The search for microfossils in the geological record has been a long-term challenge. Part of the problem comes from the difficulty of identifying such microfossils unambiguously, since they can be



New evidence of the antiquity of life

  • J. Schopf
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Origins of life and evolution of the biosphere
  • 2007
Eleven species of cellularly preserved filamentous microbes, comprising the oldest diverse microbial assemblage now known in the geologic record, have been discovered in shallow water cherts

Organic-walled microfossils in 3.2-billion-year-old shallow-marine siliciclastic deposits

These are the oldest and largest Archaean organic-walled spheroidal microfossils reported so far and suggest that relatively large microorganisms cohabited with earlier reported benthic microbial mats in the photic zone of marginal marine siliciclastic environments 3.2 billion years ago.

Photosynthetic microbial mats in the 3,416-Myr-old ocean

It is concluded that photosynthetic organisms had evolved and were living in a stratified ocean supersaturated in dissolved silica 3,416 Myr ago.

Early Archaean Microorganisms Preferred Elemental Sulfur, Not Sulfate

It is shown that microscopic sulfides with low 34S/32S ratios in marine sulfate deposits from the Dresser Formation, Australia have a mass-independently fractionated sulfur isotopic anomaly (Δ33S) that differs from that of their host sulfate (barite).

Microfossils of the Early Archean Apex Chert: New Evidence of the Antiquity of Life

It is established that trichomic cyanobacterium-like microorganisms were extant and morphologically diverse at least as early as ∼3465 million years ago and suggests that oxygen-producing photoautotrophy may have already evolved by this early stage in biotic history.

Hydrogen-based carbon fixation in the earliest known photosynthetic organisms

Thin carbonaceous laminations preserved in shallow-water facies of the 3416 Ma Buck Reef Chert, South Africa, have been interpreted to represent some of the oldest-known mats constructed by

Two coexisting sulfur metabolisms in a ca. 3400 Ma sandstone

A sandstone from the ca. 3400 Ma Strelley Pool Formation of Western Australia contains pristine micron-sized pyrite intimately associated with organic material coating framework quartz grains. A

Stromatolite reef from the Early Archaean era of Australia

A multi-kilometre-scale palaeontological and palaeoenvironmental study of the Strelley Pool Chert, in which the first morphotype-specific analysis of the structures within their palaioenvironment and refute contemporary abiogenic hypotheses for their formation are undertaken.