“Fake” here just means inanimate objects called bimorphs that form naturally and resemble microfossils:
Actual microbial life-forms are much less likely to become safely fossilized in rocks compared with nonbiological structures that happen to mimic their shapes, new research finds. The finding suggests that Earth’s earliest rocks may contain abundant tiny fakers — minuscule objects masquerading as fossilized evidence of early life — researchers report online January 28 in Geology.Carolyn Gramling, “Fossil mimics may be more common in ancient rocks than actual fossils” at ScienceNews
The paper is open access.
Bimorphs forming in slow motion:
Doubtless, this will complicate searches for the earliest life, which is most likely evidenced as microfossils if it is evidenced at all. That is, of a given specimen, was it ever life?