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

J. William Schopf
Science
New Series, Vol. 260, No. 5108 (Apr. 30, 1993), pp. 640-646
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2881249
Page Count: 7
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Microfossils of the Early Archean Apex Chert: New Evidence of the Antiquity of Life
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Abstract

Eleven taxa (including eight heretofore undescribed species) of cellularly preserved filamentous microbes, among the oldest fossils known, have been discovered in a bedded chert unit of the Early Archean Apex Basalt of northwestern Western Australia. This prokaryotic assemblage establishes 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.

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