Bacteria: Fossil Record

This description of the fossil record of bacteria focuses on one particular group of bacteria, the cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, which have left a fossil record that extends far back into the Precambrian. The oldest cyanobacteria-like fossils known are nearly 3.5 billion years old and are among the oldest fossils currently known. Cyanobacteria are larger than most bacteria and may secrete a thick cell wall. More importantly, cyanobacteria may form large layered structures, called stromatolites (if more or less dome-shaped) or oncolites (if round). The site also refers to pseudomorphs of pyrite and siderite, and a group of bacteria known as endolithic. Two links are available for more information. One provides information on the discovery of possible remains of bacteria-like organisms on a meteorite from Mars and the other has a research report on fossilized filamentous bacteria and other microbes, found in Cretaceous amber.

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Subject: Biology, Microbiology
Resource Type: Scientific Resources:Overview/Reference Work
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), High School (9-12), Informal
Focus on the Cretaceous: Paleontology