Science & Technology

Study Suggests Life on Land Began 65 Million Years Earlier than Current Estimate

Are these fossils traces of Ediacaran worms or lichen? Credit score: Greg Retallack

A brand new research exhibits that fossils which have been considered historical sea creatures could have truly been land-dwelling lichen, suggesting life on land started 65 million years earlier than present estimates.

The scientists printed their findings within the journal Nature. Nonetheless, different paleontologists flatly reject the speculation made by Gregory Retallack, a geologist from the College of Oregon, in Eugene. His paper marks a dramatic reinterpretation of the fossils and means that life on land started 65 million years earlier than researchers had estimated.

The precise nature of the fossils from the Ediacaran interval, 635 to 542 million years in the past, has been controversial amongst paleontologists. Some assume that the fossils characterize among the earliest advanced marine organisms that advanced over 10 million years earlier than the Cambrian explosion, which noticed the speedy emergence of main advanced animal teams.

Retallack thinks that the fossils are lichens, traces of slime molds, and soil constructions. He believes that rock within the Ediacara Member in South Australia, the place palaeontologist Reginald Sprigg first found Ediacaran fossils in 1947, represents new geological information. The rock’s pink colour and weathering sample point out that the deposits had been fashioned in terrestrial environments, not marine ones, and the paths attributed to Ediacaran worms may truly be slime-mold development.

Some paleontologists dismiss this paper as a abstract of the views that Retallack’s has had for the final decade and consider that Retallack hasn’t introduced any proof that may contradict the interpretation that the sedimentary layers concerned are marine. A number of impartial laboratories worldwide have almost universally converged on a marine origin for the Ediacara biota.

[via Nature]

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