World’s Oldest Color Discovered In Rocks Deep Beneath Sahara Desert

Postado Julho 10, 2018

Prof Brocks said this contributed to understanding on the evolution of life forms on Earth.

The pigments range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form, but are bright pink when diluted.

An worldwide team led by researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) extracted 1.1-billion-year-old bright pink pigments from ancient rocks deep below the Sahara Desert in Mauritania, West Africa.

For their research, the scientists crushed the black shale into powder, before extracting and analyzing the molecules from the ancient organisms.

"It turned out to be real pigment, 1.1 billion-years-old".

Everything has a colour and colours go back to the beginning of time.

Her reaction to seeing colors produced by organisms that lived more than a billion years ago?

One of the researchers said it was like finding dinosaur fossils that still kept the colour of the animal. To give context, the molecular fossils the team found were 10 times older than a Tyrannosaurus rex would have been. Once there, it must be isolated from any exposure to oxygen, which spurs decay, and then the rock that holds the material has to remain in one piece for a billion years, Brocks said.

"The pigments that we found tell us a different story - they tell us that we are probably lacking food", Associate Professor Brocks said.

"The precise analysis of the ancient pigments confirmed that tiny cyanobacteria dominated the base of the food chain in the oceans a billion years ago, which helps to explain why animals did not exist at the time", she said.

The fossils from where the archaic bright pink was discovered appeared to have a variety of colors.

The pigments are fossilised molecules of chlorophyll produced by sea organisms, Australian scientists said.

The limited supply of larger food particles is likely the reason it took so long for larger creatures to emerge.

"The cyanobacterial oceans started to vanish about 650 million years ago, when algae began to rapidly spread to provide the burst of energy needed for the evolution of complex ecosystems, where large animals, including humans, could thrive on Earth", explained Brocks.