Researchers have uncovered bacteria fossils so old that they predate oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere.
The fossils were found in Australia's Pilbara region and are from a time just 1 billion years after the formation of the Earth, making them the oldest visible fossils ever discovered. "I can confidently say the structures we're working on cannot be found on older rocks - until now, there has been nothing that is this well preserved," said Old Dominion University's Nora Noffke.
The find is particularly interesting to the science teams searching for evidence of ancient bacteria on Mars because NASA's curiosity rover is equipped with instruments designed to help locate similar fossils. "Our structure is one of the structures the rover is looking for - if we've found sedimentary structures like that on Earth's most well-preserved rocks, could they be on rocks of similar ages on Mars ?" said Noffke.
"Researchers have found fossils of bacteria that are nearly 3."
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