Fossil stromatolite, Kenya

Fossil stromatolite, Kenya

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Credit: PHILIPPE PLAILLY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Fossil stromatolite. Cross-section through a rock, showing a fossilised stromatolite (round structure). This structure formed as successive layers of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) captured grains of sediment and became mineralised. As more layers were added over thousands of years, a stromatolite, or rocky mound, gradually formed. Fossilised stromatolites have been found within rocks as old as 3.5 billion years. This one was found in Kenya, in the area around Lake Turkana. Analysis of the stromatolite, which dates to the Eocene period (56 to 34 million years ago), will help reveal the climate during this period when the ancestors of humans were present in the area.

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Keywords: africa, african, ancient, biological, biology, blue-green algae, climate, climatological, climatology, cross-section, cyanobacteria, detail, eocene, evolutionary biology, fossil, fossilised, fossilized, fossils, geological, geology, human evolution, kenya, lake turkana, layer, layers, mineralised, old, palaeobiology, palaeoclimatology, palaeontology, paleontology, plant, plants, prehistoric, prehistory, rock, section, sectioned, sedimentary, strata, stromatolite

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