Past time, really. From ScienceDaily:
Maybe the ‘Boring Billion’ wasn’t so boring, after all
The world’s oldest algae fossils are a billion years old, according to a new analysis by earth scientists at McGill University. Based on this finding, the researchers also estimate that the basis for photosynthesis in today’s plants was set in place 1.25 billion years ago.
The new findings also add to recent evidence that an interval of Earth’s history often referred to as the Boring Billion may not have been so boring, after all. From 1.8 to 0.8 billion years ago, archaea, bacteria and a handful of complex organisms that have since gone extinct milled about the planet’s oceans, with little biological or environmental change to show for it. Or so it seemed. In fact, that era may have set the stage for the proliferation of more complex life forms that culminated 541 million years ago with the so-called Cambrian Explosion.
Using the Rhenium-Osmium (or Re-Os) dating technique, applied increasingly to sedimentary rocks in recent years, they determined that the rocks are 1.047 billion years old.
“That’s 150 million years younger than commonly held estimates, and confirms that this fossil is spectacular,” says Galen Halverson, senior author of the study and an associate professor in McGill’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. “This will enable scientists to make more precise assessments of the early evolution of eukaryotes,” the celled organisms that include plants and animals. Paper. (paywall) – Timothy M. Gibson, Patrick M. Shih, Vivien M. Cumming, Woodward W. Fischer, Peter W. Crockford, Malcolm S.W. Hodgskiss, Sarah Wörndle, Robert A. Creaser, Robert H. Rainbird, Thomas M. Skulski, Galen P. Halverson. Precise age of Bangiomorpha pubescens dates the origin of eukaryotic photosynthesis. Geology, 2017; DOI: 10.1130/G39829.1 More.
Note: The Boring Billion? Evolutionary biologists so designated the first billion years of life when, we are told, simple microbes dominated Earth. They scored an interpretive victory. Then, as icing on the cake, more ink later when they “discovered” that they had been wrong to write all that time off.
In other words, they impressed people by inventing a problem and then impressed them again by discovering their invention was false. Well, so long as people are easily impressed in these matters, they’ll never want for an audience.
See, for example: 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)
Complex life billion years earlier than thought? (2016) aka How the boring billion became a boring 50k. The Boring B lasted just long enough to sell pop science before more facts came in.