Virginia Tech paleontologists have made a remarkable discovery in China: 1 billion-year-old micro-fossils of green seaweeds that could be related to the ancestor of the earliest land plants and trees that first developed 450 million years ago.
The micro-fossil seaweeds — a form of algae known as Proterocladus antiquus — are barely visible to the naked eyed at 2 millimeters in length, or roughly the size of a typical flea. Professor Shuhai Xiao said the fossils are the oldest green seaweeds ever found. They were imprinted in rock taken from an area of dry land — formerly ocean — near the city of Dalian in the Liaoning Province of northern China. Previously, the earliest convincing fossil record of green seaweeds were found in rock dated at roughly 800 million years old …
“These new fossils suggest that green seaweeds were important players in the ocean long before their land-plant descendants moved and took control of dry land,” Xiao said.
“The entire biosphere is largely dependent on plants and algae for food and oxygen, yet land plants did not evolve until about 450 million years ago,” Xiao said. “Our study shows that green seaweeds evolved no later than 1 billion years ago, pushing back the record of green seaweeds by about 200 million years. What kind of seaweeds supplied food to the marine ecosystem?”
Shuhai said the current hypothesis is that land plants — the trees, grasses, food crops, bushes, even kudzu — evolved from green seaweeds, which were aquatic plants. Through geological time — millions upon millions of years — they moved out of the water and became adapted to and prospered on dry land, their new natural environment. “These fossils are related to the ancestors of all the modern land plants we see today.” …
Photosynthetic plants are, of course, vital to the ecological balance of the planet because they produce organic carbon and oxygen through photosynthesis, and they provide food and the basis of shelter for untold numbers of mammals, fish, and more. Yet, going back 2 billion years, Earth had no green plants at all in oceans, Xiao said.
Virginia Tech, “One billion-year-old green seaweed fossils identified, relative of modern land plants” at ScienceDaily
It’s not “land” vs. “sea” that’s really significant here. It’s how much time was available for the development of photosynthesis. If the claim is that photosynthesis developed via natural selection acting on random mutations (Darwinism), then it must have somehow randomly happened in that billion years. Was there enough time? becomes an unavoidable question.
Aren’t those some of the years that used to be called the “Boring Billions”? Maybe not so boring now.
“Super-Ancient mobile organisms” push mobile life back to 2.1 billion years ago We’ve often heard that there were billions of boring years in the history of life (the Boring Billions). Maybe not so boring.
Photosynthesis Pushed Back Even Further. Time To Revisit The “Boring Billion” Claim
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)