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“Super-Ancient mobile organisms” push mobile life back to 2.1 billion years ago

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tube-like organisms from 2.1 billion years ago/
A. El Albani & A. Mazurier/IC2MP, CNRS/Université de Poitiers

Raising questions about the history of life:

Discovered in rocks in Gabon and dating back approximately 2.1 billion years, the fossils suggest the existence of a cluster of single cells that came together to form a slug-like multicellular organism that moved through the mud in search of a more favourable environment… Previous discoveries dated the earliest traces of locomotion in complex organisms in much younger rocks dated at around 570 million years ago from various localities… The fossils arepreserved as tubular structures running through the rock in thin layers with a consistent diameter of a few millimetres. Located next to these tubular structures were fossilised microbial biofilms which, the researchers believe, acted as grazing grounds for the multicellular organisms. Cardiff University, “Scientists discover oldest evidence of mobility on Earth” at Eurekalert

Paper. (paywall)

Hmmm: “came together to form a slug-like multicellular organism that moved through the mud in search of a more favourable environment… ” And “sluglike?”

Reminds us of the slime molds of today. See, for example, Is an amoeba smarter than your computer? (Yes! In a certain way.)

Some scientists question whether these 17 cm tubes really demonstrate mobility:

“What matters here is their astonishing complexity and diversity in shape and size, and likely in terms of metabolic, developmental and behavioral patterns, including the just-discovered earliest evidence of motility, at least for certain among them,” coauthor Abderrazak El Albani of the University of Poitiers in France tells Reuters…

“I think the case for some biological connection is strong,” Graham Shields of University College London who did not participate in the study tells The Guardian, but rather than a single organism making its way through the rock, the tubes could have resulted from microbial mats or tube-like organisms called Grypania. Jef Akst, “Fossilized Tubes Point to Super-Ancient Mobile Organisms” at The Scientist

We’ll see. Meanwhile, we’ve often heard that there were billions of boring years in the history of life (the Boring Billions). Maybe not so boring. See, for example:

Photosynthesis Pushed Back Even Further. Time To Revisit The “Boring Billion” Claim

Earth’s “boring billion”now hot again (2015)

The “boring billion” years: New hypothesis suggests oxygen shortage stalled life (2014)

Why was there a “boring billion” years of single cell life? (2014)

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3 Replies to ““Super-Ancient mobile organisms” push mobile life back to 2.1 billion years ago

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    Interesting very interesting article

  2. 2
    ronvanwegen says:

    “… came together”. There’s a loaded phrase!

  3. 3
    ScuzzaMan says:

    A new just-so story that has to believed because science, replaces the old just-so story that had to be believed because science.

    It’s the poor benighted children still learning from ten year old textbooks that I feel sorry for; after all, they have another ten generations of just-so stories to catch up on, and every year they keep using the same texts the list grows longer.

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