A group of scientists argued that the Quebec fossils which were recently uncovered are bound to be the oldest ones in the world, being 3.8 billion years old. Advanced dating techniques helped researchers establish the approximate age of those remains. They unveiled that the fossils might somewhere between 3.8 billion years old and 4.3 billion years old.
The remains are small, consisting of tubes and filaments which seem to be half the width of a human hair. These consist of haematite which is a type of iron oxide commonly known as rust. Some of these tubes and filaments look similar to coils while some of them are shaped like branches, and others look like being attached to knobs of haematite.
These filaments are believed to be the remains of bacteria which lived on iron, dwelling around hot springs rich in minerals on the seafloor. Scientists proposed similar systems as an accurate location for where life might have first formed. Researchers explain that we infer that these bacteria lived underwater because it presents distinctive structures like pillow-shaped masses and telltale chemical imprints.
The fossils were uncovered in a quartz-rich in iron known as Jasper. The Jasper was revealed between some volcanic rocks, which might have formed as matter spewed by hydrothermal vents settled. Maybe some may be wondering how scientists determined that these filaments are fossils. The authors of the study claim that they based their conclusion of various proofs.
Firstly, the hematite structures appear to be similar to the ones developed by iron-oxidising bacteria which exist today. What is more, they also resemble microfossils which were discovered in younger rocks from hundreds of millions of years old. These structures were revealed to contain graphite, minerals apatite and carbonate, usually associated with biological matter.
Secondly, the group of scientists unveiled the existence of iron oxide granules and carbonate rosettes which might have formed as biological matter crumpled. Even if the team of researchers claims that their investigation eliminated the theory that these Quebec fossils formed through geological processes, other specialists do not believe this.
The rocks in which the fossils were revealed are metamorphic rocks. Thus, they underwent high temperatures and pressures since their formation. Some researchers believe that geological processes have determined the development of these structures.
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