Fossils of the ancient bacteria dating back 2.5-billion years have been found in a rock near Kuruman in the Northern Cape.
Geologist at University of Johannesburg Nicolas Beukes‚ says the planet’s atmosphere contained very little oxygen at the time, which was not sufficient for oxygen breathing orgasms to survive.
The atmosphere back then existed, but was depleted in oxygen and likely was richer in CO2 and Nitrogen, says Beukes.
These fossils are very large fossils. They are made up of organic matter. And when we compare the structure of these fossils with non-living organisms today, the best fit appears to be with organisms today that are know to oxidise sulfur.— Nicolas Beukes‚ University of Johannesburg geologist
These organisms probably used sulfur to oxidise and get energy from that.— Nicolas Beukes‚ University of Johannesburg geologist
The other thing we know from the succession is that they lived in very deep water, away from sunlight. There was no sunlight available.— Nicolas Beukes‚ University of Johannesburg geologist
Listen to the audio below to hear more about these fossils...