India hosts world’s oldest algae fossil
Indian Scientists have uncovered a pair of 1.6 billion-year-old fossils that appear to contain red algae. It may be the oldest plant-like life discovered on Earth.
Until now, the oldest known red algae was 1.2 billion years old. The discovery was published in the journal PLOS Biology.
- The material structurally resembles red algae was found in Chitrakoot region in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
- It was embedded in fossil mats of cyanobacteria inside a 1.6 billion-year-old phosphorite (a kind of rock).
- Scientists had used x-rays to observe regularly recurring platelets in each cell, which they believe are parts of chloroplasts (organelles within plant cells where photosynthesis takes place).
- Significance of discovery: Scientists often debate the question of when complex life began on Earth. It is generally believed that that large multicellular organisms became common about 600 million years ago. This discovery could lead scientists to rewrite the tree of life.