Researchers have discovered some bacteria fossils which date back to 52 billion-year-old. The astonishing discovery shows that some early life forms existed on Earth without oxygen.
The fossil samples provided by scientists from University of Cincinnati show microscopic bacterium that survived during a time when Earth’s oxygen levels were lesser for any organism to survive.
Now what puzzles researchers is how they survived at a time when oxygen levels in the atmosphere were less than one-thousandth of one per cent of what they are today.
As these are the oldest reported fossil sulphur bacteria to date, according to scientists. It’s a great chance for scientists to study diversity of life and ecosystems that existed just prior to the Great Oxidation Event.
These 2.52 billion-year-old sulphur-oxidising bacteria are exceptionally large similar to some modern single-celled organisms that live in deep water sulphur-rich ocean settings, where even now there are almost no traces of oxygen. The study was published in the journal Geology.