From “New Evidence for the Oldest Oxygen-Breathing Life On Land”
(ScienceDaily, Oct. 19, 2011), we learn:
New University of Alberta research shows the first evidence that the first oxygen-breathing bacteria occupied and thrived on land 100 million years earlier than previously thought. The researchers show that the most primitive form of aerobic-respiring life on land came into existence 2.48 billion years ago.
“We suggest that the jump in chromium levels was triggered by the oxidation of the mineral pyrite (fool’s gold) on land,” said Konhauser.
The researchers say the modern analogue for that first primitive oxygen-dependent life form on Earth is still with us.
“The same bacterial life forms are alive and well today, living off pyrite and settling in the highly acidic waste waters of mining sites the world over,” said Konhauser.