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Stromatolite

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INFORMATION
TIME SCALE
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This is easily the oldest fossil we’ve ever featured. This small, dark rock is a stromatolite, a sedimentary rock consisting of layer upon layer of oxygen-producing microorganisms. These single-celled microbes were so simple they lacked a DNA packaging nucleus, but were responsible for possibly the most drastic changes the earth has undergone. By producing oxygen as a waste product, they were the only major source of atmospheric oxygen at the time, and therefore critical for the development of more complex life.

INTERESTING PROPERTIES

• Some stromatolites date back an astounding 3.4 billion years, making them the oldest record of life on planet Earth.
• When these microbes lived, Earth’s atmosphere had no oxygen, the oceans were euxinic—void of oxygen and rich in hydrogen
sulfide (H2S).

• This specimen is from the Ord Ranges of Western Australia.

USES

• These microbes oxygenated Earth and made it habitable for life as we know it.
• Add this artifact to your fossil collection.


TIME SCALE

This table contains the geological time periods of the past 2.5 billion years on Earth to aid in understanding age immense age of these fossils.

(Ma = Mega-annum = 1,000,000 years)
EON ERA PERIOD EXTENT (Ma) DURATION (Ma)
Phanerozoic Cenozoic Quaternary 2.588–Present 2.588+
Neogene 23.03–2.588 20.4
Paleogene 66.0–23.03 42.9
Mesozoic Cretaceous 145.5–66.0 79.5
Jurassic 201.3–145.0 56.3
Triassic 252.17–201.3 50.9
Paleozoic Permian 298.9–252.17 46.7
Carboniferous 358.9–298.9 60
Devonian 419.2–358.9 60.3
Silurian 443.4–419.2 24.2
Ordovician 485.4–443.4 42
Cambrian 541.0–485.4 55.6
Proterozoic Neoproterozoic Ediacaran 635.0–541.0 94
Cryogenian 850–635 215
Tonian 1,000–850 150
Mesoproterozoic Stenian 1,200–1,000 200
Ectasian 1,400–1,200 200
Calymmian 1,600–1,400 200
Paleoproterozoic Statherian 1,800–1,600 200
Orosirian 2,050–1,800 250
Rhyacian 2,300–2,050 250
Siderian 2,500–2,300 200
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Stromatolite

Stromatolite

$16.00
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