Which Fossils Are From the Precambrian Era?


Quick Answer

The Virtual Fossil Museum states that Precambrian fossils mostly derive from organisms called stromatolites. Stromatolites are presumed to be among the world's oldest fossils. The existence of stromatolites is important, because stromatolite fossils are a window into the earth's distant past that allows scientists to understand the foundation of evolution.

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Full Answer

Stromatolites resemble rock-like structures but are made up of small living organisms such as bacteria and algae. These microbes clusteed into groups supported by limestone and dolostone layers. Most stromatolites were formed by the photosynthesis of cyanobacteria. When cyanobacteria underwent metabolism, they gave off oxygen which caused the earth's crust to rust. Scientists claim that stromatolites evolved from organisms that developed aerobic processes to live in the earth's oxygen rich environment. Tiny portions of stromatolite fossils contain thousands of years worth of evolution. Stromatolites lived in virtually every geographic location in prehistoric Earth, which means that they evolved in different climates. However, stromatolite fossils are never found in volcanic regions, because rocks that form under this condition tend to become buried deeply beneath the earth's surface. These fossils were first discovered in Shark Bay, Australia in 1956 at marine and non-marine locations. Even though marine stromatolite fossils are almost extinct, they are still found in marine environments such as the Bahamas and the Indian Ocean.

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