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Fossil stromatolite

Fossil stromatolite

C021/6932

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Credit

DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Polished section of stromatholitic algae from late pre-Cambrian (± 600 million years old) reef type deposits in Morocco, southeast of Ouarzazate. Stromatolites are cudgel-shaped, rocky structures, the fossil remains of algal bacteria that formed colonial mats, the new ones covering the old ones, layer by layer. Stromatolites are found in sedimentary rocks as old as the Achaean (up to 3.5 billion yrs.) and as such represent the oldest form of life on earth. They are still formed today by more or less the same cyano-bacteria that formed them billions of years ago. Actual width is 40 cm.

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