Origin of photosynthesis may go further back than estimates from 50 years ago

Origin of photosynthesis may go further back than estimates from 50 years ago

Origin of photosynthesis may go further back than estimates from 50 years ago

Evidence of Precambrian life

From deep in the gold mines of South Africa’s Orange Free State has come evidence that there was some form of biologic activity on Earth at least 2.15 billion years ago. Polymerized hydrocarbon “chemo-fossils” found in the gold ores … [probably] were originally part of a rich bacterial and algal life in the Witwatersrand basin. Since the rock layers from which they come have been dated to about 2.15 billion years ago, it seems likely that photosynthesis existed on Earth before then.  — Science News, March 18, 1967

UPDATE

Scientists still debate when early photo­synthesizing organisms called cyanobacteria began pumping oxygen into Earth’s atmosphere. Recent evidence suggests the microbes existed some 3.2 billion years ago (SN Online: 9/8/15), even though a larger oxygen surge didn’t happen until about 2.4 billion years ago (SN: 3/4/17 p. 9). Those tiny bacteria left an outsized impact on our planet, releasing extra oxygen into the atmosphere that paved the way for complex multicellular life like plants and animals.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Coins thrown into plane engine by elderly passenger for 'luck'

Coins thrown into plane engine by elderly passenger for 'luck'..

27-Jun, 16:36

A superstitious elderly passenger delayed a flight in Shanghai after...

Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond dies

Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond dies..

28-Jun, 08:43

Michael Bond, the creator of beloved children's character Paddington...

India Mumbai blasts convict dies of heart attack

India Mumbai blasts convict dies of heart attack..

28-Jun, 07:42

A man convicted of involvement in the 1993 Mumbai blasts has died of a...

Queen's Speech: Labour to force vote on public pay cap

Queen's Speech: Labour to force vote on public pay cap..

28-Jun, 02:54

Pay rises for five million public sector workers have effectively been...

Trump's gyrations on NAFTA cause a flurry of head-scratching

Trump's gyrations on NAFTA cause a flurry of head-scratching..

27-Apr, 18:48

President Donald Trump campaigned on an "America First" trade policy of...

North Korea accuses US, South Korea of assassination attempt

North Korea accuses US, South Korea of assassination attempt..

05-May, 08:16

North Korea on Friday accused the U.S. and South Korean spy agencies of...

FBI deflects House Oversight Committee's request for documents

FBI deflects House Oversight Committee's request for documents..

25-May, 17:08

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, is renewing...

Fitbit tracks your steps; now it wants to chart your Zs, too

Fitbit tracks your steps; now it wants to chart your Zs, too..

06-Mar, 09:05

Fitbit, whose devices encourage people to walk 10,000 steps each day, now...