Dating billion year old rocks

The study describing the fossils has been published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

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The rock, already dated as 3.5 billion years old, has now been shown to contain the remains of simple biological life as old as the rock they were found in.

Paleobiologists have finally laid the debate to rest today (Dec.

18), with a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that uses the latest techniques to date the most aged remains available, confirming the existence of bacteria and microbes nearly 3.5 billion years ago, possibly living on a planet without oxygen.

Fossils of what may be the earliest fungi have been discovered in rocks dating back 2.4 billion years old.

The finding of the fossilized filaments, if it can be confirmed, would push back the earliest known date of eukaryotic cells – the group that contains plants, fungi, and crucially animals – by 500 million years.

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