The fossil microbes were found in sandstone in Australia. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Brew Books
The foul-smelling single-celled microbes are believed to have lived more than 3.5 billion years ago.
The fossil microbes were discovered in a lump of sandstone rock recovered from a site in Western Australia. The ancient form of life is thought to have lived in clusters that would have operated as a single entity and had the appearance of a purple or green 'mat' on the surface of rocks.
One of the most distinctive characteristics of these ancient microbes would have been the smell caused by their solar-powered respiration process, an odor most likely to have resembled that of rotten eggs.
The find is particularly interesting because the fossil microbes are at least 300 million years older than anything ever discovered before and because, despite being found in a relatively well-traveled region, they had gone entirely unnoticed up until now despite numerous geological studies of the surrounding rocks.
Source: Independent | Comments (16)