Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




EARLY EARTH
Feast clue to smell of ancient earth
by Staff Writers
Oxford UK (SPX) May 03, 2013


A 3D reconstruction of tubular Gunflintia fossils being eaten by heterotrophic bacteria (orange spheres and rod-shapes) gives the first ever snapshot of organisms eating each other, Oxford University and University of Western Australia scientists report. Credit: David Wacey.

Tiny 1,900 million-year-old fossils from rocks around Lake Superior, Canada, give the first ever snapshot of organisms eating each other and suggest what the ancient Earth would have smelled like.

The fossils, preserved in Gunflint chert, capture ancient microbes in the act of feasting on a cyanobacterium-like fossil called Gunflintia - with the perforated sheaths of Gunflintia being the discarded leftovers of this early meal.

A team, led by Dr David Wacey of the University of Western Australia and Bergen University, Norway, and Professor Martin Brasier of Oxford University, reports in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the fossil evidence for how this type of feeding on organic matter - called 'heterotrophy' - was taking place.

They also show that the ancient microbes appeared to prefer to snack on Gunflintia as a 'tasty morsel' in preference to another bacterium (Huroniospora).

'What we call 'heterotrophy' is the same thing we do after dinner as the bacteria in our gut break down organic matter,' said Professor Martin Brasier of Oxford University's Department of Earth Sciences, an author of the paper.

'Whilst there is chemical evidence suggesting that this mode of feeding dates back 3,500 million years, in this study for the first time we identify how it was happening and 'who was eating who'.

In fact we've all experienced modern bacteria feeding in this way as that's where that 'rotten egg' whiff of hydrogen sulfide comes from in a blocked drain. So, rather surprisingly, we can say that life on earth 1,900 million years ago would have smelled a lot like rotten eggs.'

The team analysed the microscopic fossils, ranging from about 3-15 microns in diameter, using a battery of new techniques and found that one species - a tubular form thought to be the outer sheath of Gunflintia - was more perforated after death than other kinds, consistent with them having been eaten by bacteria.

In some places many of the tiny fossils had been partially or entirely replaced with iron sulfide ('fool's gold') a waste product of heterotrophic sulfate-reducing bacteria that is also a highly visible marker.

The team also found that these Gunflintia fossils carried clusters of even smaller (c.1 micron) spherical and rod-shaped bacteria that were seemingly in the process of consuming their hosts.

Dr Wacey said that: 'recent geochemical analyses have shown that the sulfur-based activities of bacteria can likely be traced back to 3,500 million years or so - a finding reported by our group in Nature Geoscience in 2011.

Whilst the Gunflint fossils are only about half as old, they confirm that such bacteria were indeed flourishing by 1,900 million years ago. And that they were also highly particular about what they chose to eat.'

.


Related Links
University of Oxford
Explore The Early Earth at TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EARLY EARTH
Dinosaur predecessors gain ground in wake of world's biggest biodiversity crisis
Seattle WA (SPX) May 03, 2013
Many scientists have thought that dinosaur predecessors missed the race to fill habitats emptied when nine out of 10 species disappeared during the Earth's largest mass extinction, approximately 252 million years ago. The thinking was based on fossil records from sites in South Africa and southwest Russia. It turns out that scientists may have been looking for the starting line in the wron ... read more


EARLY EARTH
Scientists Use Laser to Find Soviet Moon Rover

Characterizing The Lunar Radiation Environment

Russia rekindles Moon exploration program, intends setting up first human outposts there

Pre-existing mineralogy may survive lunar impacts

EARLY EARTH
Every dollar must go to bridge gaps to Mars: NASA

Dream of Mars exploration achievable, experts say

Landslides and lava flows at Olympus Mons on Mars

NASA Invites Public to Send Names And Messages to Mars

EARLY EARTH
Lockheed Martin Receives NASA Mission Operations Contract Extension

UK Space Agency and NASA Join Forces to Explore the Solar System

NASA's Chief Defends Commercial Spaceflight Agreements

NASA Invites the Public to Fly Along with Voyager

EARLY EARTH
China launches communications satellite

On Course for Shenzhou 10

Yuanwang III, VI depart for space-tracking missions

Shenzhou's Shadow Crew

EARLY EARTH
NASA to pay Russia $424 mln more for lift into space

NASA Extends Crew Flight Contract with Russian Space Agency

Cargo spaceship docks with ISS despite antenna mishap

ISS Communications Test Bed Checks Out; Experiments Begin

EARLY EARTH
European Vega rocket launch delayed due to weather

First of Four Sounding Rockets Launched from the Marshall Islands

Checkout is underway with O3b Networks' four satellites to be orbited on the next Arianespace Soyuz launch

The Well-Built Italian

EARLY EARTH
Two New Exoplanets Detected with Kepler, SOPHIE and HARPS-N

Astronomer studies far-off worlds through 'characterization by proxy'

Mysterious Hot Spots Observed In A Cool Red Supergiant

Orbital Selected By NASA for TESS Astrophysics Satellite

EARLY EARTH
General Dynamics Team to Develop Second Radar System for the US Army Range Radar Replacement Program

NASA Partners With Utah State University's Space Dynamics Lab

Silicone liquid crystal stiffens with repeated compression

Researchers tackle collapsing bridges with new technology




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement