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At ScienceNews: “Fake” fossils more common than real ones


“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?

Previous comment I posted here has now vanished. More software issues? -Q Querius
When people start exploring a new area, or a new scale opened up by new tools, there's always a learning stage. How many of these bright dots are moving planets and how many are permanent stars? How many of these tiny blobs are moving under their own power and how many are just going with the Brownian flow? The odd thing about this article is that it imputes life and purpose to the "fakers" instead of treating the problem as a gradual refinement of our mental filters. This pro-purpose bias is sort of refreshing after too many years of an anti-purpose bias, imputing only randomness to everything INCLUDING life. polistra

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