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multicell-life-2.jpg

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Dr. Dick van der Wateren

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Palaeontology, Precambrian, fossils, Great Oxidation Event

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Oldest multicellular fossils

04.07.2010, Age: 3033 days

2.1 billion yearss old fossils from Gabon, West Africa, appear to be the oldest multicellular life forms known so far.

Cookie-shaped blobs, 7–120 millimetres long, have been interpreted by a 21-person team of palaeontologists as organisms consisting of multiple cells with a central body surrounded by flexible flaps. The team, led by Abderrazak El Albani of the University of Poitiers, France, used micro-computed tomography and mass spectrometry to reconstruct their structure and chemical content.

The organisms are thought to have evolved after the Great Oxidation Event, 2.4 billion years ago. A further rise in global atmospheric oxygen levels gave rise to the Cambrian Explosion.


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