ecosystem importance: system 3.2 byo (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, April 15, 2022, 20:29 (75 days ago) @ David Turell

Found in a deep mine:

"Beneath the Barberton Makhonjwa Mountains, home to South Africa’s original gold rush, lies something more scientifically valuable than any precious metal: Earth’s first land ecosystem, trapped in a 3.2-billion-year-old rock formation called the Moodies Group. In roadcuts and mineshafts, scientists had already glimpsed fossilized remnants of the slimy microbial mats thought to have covered the ancient rivers, beaches, and estuaries. Now, they are drilling into the terrain for the first time, retrieving fresh samples of what may have been Earth’s first microbial producers of oxygen.

"The cores the team has already extracted, from deposits 200 meters below the surface, are rich in fossilized slimes. “We’ve drilled through hundreds of meters of them,” Heubeck says. Their nature, however, is a mystery.

"Other ancient microbial fossils in the Moodies Group, found in what were marine and subsurface deposits, probably fed on sulfates or used a primitive form of photosynthesis to feed on iron. But those metabolic pathways would not have worked well in the Sun-soaked shallow waters in which the slimes lived. Heubeck believes these microbes were early ancestors of cyanobacteria, which some 800 million years later flooded the atmosphere with oxygen in what’s called the Great Oxidation Event. “The production of oxygen appears to be a process invented early in Earth’s history,” he says.

"It’s a controversial claim. If oxygen producing photosynthesis had evolved so early, some researchers argue, the Great Oxidation Event would have promptly followed. But evidence for early “oxygen oases” has grown. Geochemists have found mineral deposits from well before the Great Oxidation Event that needed oxygen to form. And genetic analysis of cyanobacteria suggests they evolved, on land, around the same time as the Moodies Group, says Patricia Sanchez-Baracaldo, a paleobiologist at the University of Bristol who is unaffiliated with BASE. “The genomic record is independent and consistent with the idea that those were early ancestors of cyanobacteria.'”

Comment: that there may be oxygen production at that early stage is fascinating. Note that ecosystems formed so early. They must be present at all times for life to survive. dhw poopoos their importance as they relate to eventual human arrival. God understood exactly what He had to do in the time it took for Him to evolve humans by His designs.

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