Sulfur-cycling fossil bacteria from the 1.8-Ga Duck Creek Formation provide promising evidence of evolution's null hypothesis

J. William Schopf, Anatoliy B. Kudryavtsev, Malcolm R. Walter, Martin J. Van Kranendonk, Kenneth H. Williford, Reinhard Kozdon, John W. Valley, Victor A. Gallardo, Carola Espinoza, David T. Flannery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The recent discovery of a deep-water sulfur-cycling microbial biota in the ~2.3-Ga Western Australian Turee Creek Group opened a new window to life's early history. We now report a second such subseafloor-inhabiting community from the Western Australian ~1.8-Ga Duck Creek Formation. Permineralized in cherts formed during and soon after the 2.4-to 2.2-Ga "Great Oxidation Event," these two biotas may evidence an opportunistic response to the mid-Precambrian increase of environmental oxygen that resulted in increased production of metabolically useable sulfate and nitrate. The marked similarity of microbial morphology, habitat, and organization of these fossil communities to their modern counterparts documents exceptionally slow (hypobradytelic) change that, if paralleled by their molecular biology, would evidence extreme evolutionary stasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2087-2092
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume112
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 17 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Great Oxidation Event
  • Microbial evolution
  • Null hypothesis
  • Precambrian microorganisms
  • Sulfur bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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