Tech and science news

Algae a billion years old is the oldest fossil of a plant

Scientists found in rocks from northern China the oldest known fossil of a green plant - a miniature algae that covered the seabed about a billion years ago, Reuters reported.
Proterocladus antiquus algae is “a close relative of the ancestor of all modern green plants,” said Qing Tan, a paleobiologist from the Virginia Institute of Technology who has discovered a fossil in a rock in Liaonin province, near the city. Dalyan.

The first plants on land evolved from green algae about 450 million years ago, BTA points out.

Although small - only 2 mm, Proterocladus algae was one of the largest organisms of the time. Back then in the seas lived mainly bacteria and other microbes. The algae performed photosynthesis, transformed sunlight into chemical energy and produced oxygen.

About two billion years ago, life on Earth evolved from simple bacterial cells to the first eukaryotes that encompassed fungi, plants and animals. The first plants were unicellular organisms. The transition to multicellular like Proterocladus was key in development, created conditions for the rise of plants that populated the whole world - from ferns to redwoods and flycatchers.

Proterocladus is 200 million years older than its previous earliest known brethren. One of its modern relatives is algae used for food called sea lettuce.


Related news