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World’s “oldest microfossils” are not life forms after all


From ScienceDaily:

The new research, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that structures once thought to be Earth’s oldest microfossils do not compare with younger fossil candidates but have, instead, the character of peculiarly shaped minerals. In 1993, US scientist Bill Schopf described tiny carbon-rich filaments within the 3.46 billion-year-old Apex chert (fine-grained sedimentary rock) from the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which he likened to certain forms of bacteria, including cyanobacteria.

The apparent find was controversial but the ensuing debate was hard to resolve until more advanced equipment became available, at which point:

Now Dr David Wacey, a Marie Curie Fellow in Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, in collaboration with the late Professor Brasier, has come up with new high-spatial resolution data that clearly demonstrate that the ‘Apex chert microfossils’ comprise stacks of plate-like clay minerals arranged into branched and tapered worm-like chains. Carbon was then absorbed onto the edges of these minerals during the circulation of hydrothermal fluids, giving a false impression of carbon-rich cell-like walls.

So the new term is “pseudofossils.” And  billions of years of long, slow Darwinian evolution apparently did not happen.

See Also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (origin of life)


New analytical approaches and discoveries are demanding fresh thinking about the early fossil record. The 1.88-Ga Gunflint chert provides an important benchmark for the analysis of early fossil preservation. High-resolution analysis of Gunflintia shows that microtaphonomy can help to resolve long-standing paleobiological questions. Novel 3D nanoscale reconstructions of the most ancient complex fossil Eosphaera reveal features hitherto unmatched in any crown-group microbe. While Eosphaera may preserve a symbiotic consortium, a stronger conclusion is that multicellular morphospace was differently occupied in the Paleoproterozoic. The 3.46-Ga Apex chert provides a test bed for claims of biogenicity of cell-like structures. Mapping plus focused ion beam milling combined with transmission electron microscopy data demonstrate that microfossil-like taxa, including species of Archaeoscillatoriopsis and Primaevifilum, are pseudofossils formed from vermiform phyllosilicate grains during hydrothermal alteration events. The 3.43-Ga Strelley Pool Formation shows that plausible early fossil candidates are turning up in unexpected environmental settings. Our data reveal how cellular clusters of unexpectedly large coccoids and tubular sheath-like envelopes were trapped between sand grains and entombed within coatings of dripstone beach-rock silica cement. These fossils come from Earth’s earliest known intertidal to supratidal shoreline deposit, accumulated under aerated but oxygen poor conditions. [The article is available to the public as a .pdf. News] – Martin Brasier, Jonathan Antcliffe, Martin Saunders and David Wacey. Changing the picture of Earth’s earliest fossils (3.5-1.9 Ga) with new approaches and new discoveries. PNAS, 2015

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I find Lee Stoneking's testimony credible. One reason I find his testimony credible is that this following verse was the very first verse that I 'coincidentally' read after hearing his testimony yesterday afternoon/evening.
Ephesians 5:14 This is why it is said: "Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."
as to this quip: "But we are digressing. What the hell does his testimony have to do with Precambrian microfossils?" The question of where life came from in the first place and a lifeless body being raised from the dead would seem to be directly related would it not? Here are some related notes on miracles':
Craig Keener- Miracles Symposium – video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn73J9A0SnU Dr. Craig Keener, author of “Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts” discusses in this web series some of the trustworthy accounts of people being raised from the dead and people being healed of sicknesses from around the world. – video playlist http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE6sDPPQ7WA&list=PLC900F8EEB62AE426&feature=plcp&context=C43901d1FDvjVQa1PpcFPmClYI6nDQbdabTL_qw7jCisfOqOmxOyU= Miracles: Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9G8o7JXlbE at the 24:00 minute mark of the preceding video the 'scientist' gives testimony of his son being miraculously healed of an incurable disease Eric Metaxas – Miracles https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtsHFc2fHOI Eric Metaxas Shares About Miracles - video https://vimeo.com/115280778 (GodWinks) SQuire Rushnell & daughter of Emmett Kelly on FOX & FRIENDS 6/16/13 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvdkCJgRzEk&list=UUhhpzDrOSynYa9xPfNtbrqw Study Of The Therapeutic Effects Of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (PIP) On Auditory and Visual Impairments In Rural Mozambique - 2010 CONCLUSIONS: Rural Mozambican subjects exhibited improved audition and/or visual acuity subsequent to PIP. The magnitude of measured effects exceeds that reported in previous suggestion and hypnosis studies. Future study seems warranted to assess whether PIP may be a useful adjunct to standard medical care for certain patients with auditory and/or visual impairments, especially in contexts where access to conventional treatment is limited. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20686441 The following video is from the Dr. who helped conduct the preceding study: Testing Prayer: Science and Miraculous Healing - Candy Gunther Brown at Boston College - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rRfLooh3ZOk Scientific Evidence for Answered Prayer and the Existence of God - Rich Deem Excerpt: Obviously, science has demonstrated in three separate studies the efficacy of Christian prayer in medical studies. There is no "scientific" (non-spiritual) explanation for the cause of the medical effects demonstrated in these studies. The only logical, but not testable, explanation is that God exists and answers the prayers of Christians. http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/prayer.html#AowIolZKZqed
Indeed, I’m surprised they would allow it. Amazing what God can do.
He took part in a Thematic Debate on "Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation: Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies and Countering Violent Extremism". The General Assembly had invited a number of religious leaders (I counted 18 of them in the group photo from the meeting) "to stand up for the collective good and amplify their voices in support of moderation and mutual understanding". It seems that instead of sticking to the topic, Stoneking used his time as an opportunity for self-promotion. As you can see in the video, he was speaking to an emptyish assembly hall, and most of the remaining audience were more interested in their lappies than in the current speaker. But we are digressing. What the hell does his testimony have to do with Precambrian microfossils? Don Pedro
According to another testimony by Lee Stoneking (his own CV), he's got doctoral degrees from "virtual" diploma mills that don't physically exist and have no legal right to confer any degrees. I wouldn't believe a "testimony" from a guy with false credentials. Just sayin'. Don Pedro
Indeed, I'm surprised they would allow it. Amazing what God can do. Cheers Cross
Cross, that was an amazing miracle testimony. At the UN no less! bornagain77
OT: BA77 you may appreciate this video of Reverend Lee Stoneking addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City. April 22nd, 2015. (testimony of being dead for 45 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYt8sv4vzQs Cheers Cross
OT: wd400, you might appreciate this: Listen: Casey Luskin on How Convergent Evolution Turns the Logic of Common Ancestry on Its Head http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/04/listen_casey_lu_3095481.html bornagain77
If first life forms are later than previously thought and then everything else is earlier That's not even... what? wd400
There is even very strong biogeochemical evidence for photosynthetic life on earth a soon as it was possible for life to be on earth: The Sudden Appearance Of Life On Earth (3.9 billion years ago) – video https://vimeo.com/92413648 When Did Life on Earth Begin? Ask a Rock (3.85 bya) http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/293/ When did oxygenic photosynthesis evolve? - Roger Buick - 2008 Excerpt:,, U–Pb data from ca 3.8?Ga metasediments suggest that this metabolism could have arisen by the start of the geological record. Hence, the hypothesis that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved well before the atmosphere became permanently oxygenated seems well supported. http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/363/1504/2731.long Life's history in iron - Nov. 7, 2014 Excerpt: A new study examines how Earth's oldest iron formations could have been formed before oxygenic photosynthesis played a role in oxidizing iron.,,, Microorganisms that photosynthesize in the absence of oxygen assimilate carbon by using iron oxide (Fe(II)) as an electron donor instead of water. While oxygenic photosynthesis produces oxygen in the atmosphere (in the form of dioxygen), anoxygenic photosynthesis adds an electron to Fe(II) to produce Fe(III). "In other words, they oxidize the iron," explains Pecoits. "This finding is very important because it implies that this metabolism was already active back in the early Archean (ca. 3.8 Byr-ago)." http://phys.org/news/2014-11-life-history-iron.html Dr. Hugh Ross - Origin Of Life Paradox (No prebiotic chemical signatures)- video (40:10 minute mark) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=UPvO2EkiLls#t=2410 "We get that evidence from looking at carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis. And it tells us that in Earth's oldest (sedimentary) rock, which dates at 3.80 billion years ago, we find an abundance for the carbon signature of living systems. Namely, that life prefers carbon 12. And so if you see a higher ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 13 that means that carbon has been processed by life. And it is that kind of evidence that tells us that life has been abundant on earth as far back as 3.80 billion years ago (when water was first present on earth).,,, And that same carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis tells us that planet earth, over it entire 4.5662 billion year history has never had prebiotics. Prebiotics would have a higher ratio of carbon 13 to carbon 12. All the carbonaceous material, we see in the entire geological record of the earth, has the signature of being post-biotic not pre-biotic. Which means planet earth never had a primordial soup. And the origin of life on earth took place in a geological instant" (as soon as it was possible for life to exist on earth). - Hugh Ross - quote as stated in preceding video Isotopic Evidence For Life Immediately Following Late Bombardment - Graph http://cdn.physorg.com/newman/gfx/news/hires/2014/oldestbitofc.jpg When Did Life First Appear on Earth? - Fazale Rana - December 2010 Excerpt: The primary evidence for 3.8 billion-year-old life consists of carbonaceous deposits, such as graphite, found in rock formations in western Greenland. These deposits display an enrichment of the carbon-12 isotope. Other chemical signatures from these formations that have been interpreted as biological remnants include uranium/thorium fractionation and banded iron formations. Recently, a team from Australia argued that the dolomite in these formations also reflects biological activity, specifically that of sulfate-reducing bacteria. http://www.reasons.org/when-did-life-first-appear-earth The simplest photosynthetic life on earth is exceedingly complex, far too complex to happen by accident even if the primeval oceans had been full of pre-biotic soup. Evolutionary biology: Out of thin air John F. Allen & William Martin: The measure of the problem is here: “Oxygenetic photosynthesis involves about 100 proteins that are highly ordered within the photosynthetic membranes of the cell." http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v445/n7128/full/445610a.html Of note: anoxygenic (without oxygen) photosynthesis is even more of a complex chemical pathway than oxygenic photosynthesis is: "Remarkably, the biosynthetic routes needed to make the key molecular component of anoxygenic photosynthesis are more complex than the pathways that produce the corresponding component required for the oxygenic form."; Early Life Remains Complex By Fazale R. Rana (FACTS for FAITH Issue 7, 2001) Moreover, photosynthesis is shown to require a 'non-local', beyond space and time, cause to explain its coherent effect: Life Masters Physics - Feb. 2010 Excerpt: Collini et al.2 report evidence suggesting that a process known as quantum coherence ‘wires’ together distant molecules in the light-harvesting apparatus of marine cryptophyte algae.,,,“Intriguingly, recent work has documented that light-absorbing molecules in some photosynthetic proteins capture and transfer energy according to quantum-mechanical probability laws instead of classical laws at temperatures up to 180 K,”. ,,, “This contrasts with the long-held view that long-range quantum coherence between molecules cannot be sustained in complex biological systems, even at low temperatures.” http://www.creationsafaris.com/crev201002.htm#20100210a bornagain77
Silver Asiatic, Have you followed the Schopf controversy (involving the Apex Chert "microfossils")? Do you realise that most palaeontologists have agreed with Brasier's "inorganic" explanation for many years? The article summarised in ScienceDaily seems to lay that ghost to rest definitively, but very few people have taken those "bacteria" seriously anyway. Which said, there are other fossils of the same age or even slightly older, and they are generally regarded as genuine; so what's all the fuss about? The dating of life on Earth does not depend on any particular single find. Don Pedro
If first life forms are later than previously thought and then everything else is earlier, that's not good for evolution. Silver Asiatic
Finally News has found it! After all these years trawling press release aggregators the first case of "later than previously thought"! Given how bad those "earlier than thought" headlines were supposed to be, this must be very good news for evolution :) wd400
And billions of years of long, slow Darwinian evolution apparently did not happen.
What "billions of years" are you referring to? goodusername

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