MAR 14, 2017 9:41 PM PDT

Say Hello to the World's Oldest Plant Fossil

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Fossils are relics left behind by time; they're alone and forgotten in places where even mother nature doesn’t get a chance to wash them away. Fortunately for scientists, that's a good thing.

While experts have found tons of animal-based fossils, ranging from birds, to reptiles, to amphibians (many of which are claimed to be some of the oldest-known), there’s currently a new fossil on the block that’s getting all the attention right now.

Image Credit: Stefan Bengtson

This particular discovery, which was made possible by Swedish researchers, is nothing short of interesting. At 1.6 billion years old, it's believed to be the oldest-known plant-like fossil ever discovered on record. The latest discovery pre-dates the previous record-holder by at least 400 million years.

The findings appear in the journal PLOS Biology.

“From what we know today, these are the oldest red algae ever found,” said study co-author Therese Sallstedt of the Swedish Museum of Natural History. "They show us that advanced life in the form of eukaryotes (like plants, fungi and us humans/animals) have a much deeper history on Earth than what we previously have thought."

The fossils, which are virtually microscopic in size, were discovered in India. They appear to be of a type of ancient red algae, although not much is yet known about it. Nevertheless, the age of the fossil suggests that this kind of algae existed long before we originally thought possible, and this means it existed alongside some of the Earth's earliest simple life forms.

While it wasn’t easy to determine that the fossils could possibly be this old, it was certainly jaw-dropping when the results were realized. Some of Earth’s earliest life dates back 3.5 billion years ago,

Just as we thought we were beginning to understand our planet and where all of its diverse life forms came from, this new research scraps our ideas and forces us to start over again.

It should be interesting to see what the next major fossil discovery will be, and moreover, how many more scientific theories it will put to rest. With every question that gets answered, it seems a truckload more take its place.

Source: EurekAlert

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
SEP 17, 2020
Microbiology
Animals May Sense the Magnetic Field Because of Bacteria
SEP 17, 2020
Animals May Sense the Magnetic Field Because of Bacteria
Animals can sense magnetism, an ability called magnetoreception. Scientists have been trying to understand this sense, w ...
OCT 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
Genetically Engineered Foods Could Alleviate Nutritional Deficiencies
OCT 19, 2020
Genetically Engineered Foods Could Alleviate Nutritional Deficiencies
There are over two billion people around the world that don't get the recommended levels of minerals and vitamins in ...
OCT 26, 2020
Microbiology
A Network of Fungi Helps Trees Grow
OCT 26, 2020
A Network of Fungi Helps Trees Grow
Trees rely on a network of fungal friends for good health. Communities of trees can share nutrients and other essentail ...
DEC 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
How an Insect Gained Its Wings
DEC 15, 2020
How an Insect Gained Its Wings
For decades, researchers have tried to understand how insect wings evolved. It seemed that none of the proposed explanat ...
JAN 03, 2021
Plants & Animals
A Beast Crazy Enough to Live with Dinosaurs
JAN 03, 2021
A Beast Crazy Enough to Live with Dinosaurs
At one time, Australia, South America, Antarctica, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula were merge ...
JAN 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
San Diego Zoo's Gorillas Positive for COVID-19
JAN 13, 2021
San Diego Zoo's Gorillas Positive for COVID-19
Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park tested positive ...
Loading Comments...