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The World’s Oldest Life Forms Were Found In Tasmania

Thought Tassie locals were old before?

by Wendy Syfret
14 November 2017, 11:42pm

As you can probably tell from those Spirit of Tasmania ads, old things love Tasmania. It’s quiet, chill, and void of those heatwaves that occasionally clear out nursing homes in February. That sounds like a mean thing to say, but for once in my life a blanket statement about a state I’ve only visited a handful of times isn’t total bullshit — it’s a scientific fact!

Researchers from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and the University of Tasmania have discovered the oldest evidence of life on Earth in the state.

Deep in an isolated World Heritage Area they came across living specimens of stromatolites — sedimentary rocks formed by layers and layers of a single-celled photosynthesising microbe called cyanobacteria. They formed over millennia as they trapped sediment and minerals from water to build into these shapes. They’re the earliest fossil evidence of life on Earth.

FYI this is what stromatolites look like. Image via Shutterstock.

Okay, so we’re using the term living kind of loosely. But still, these things are old as fuck, dating back a casual 3.7 billion years.

Not surprisingly stromatolites are always super rare, but these Tassie ones are extra special because they were found in freshwater wetlands, rather than the usual hypersaline waters.

So congratulations on your new Wikipedia subsection, Tasmania! We can’t wait until David Walsh projects dicks onto them and turns the whole thing into an installation about death and wilting male sexuality.

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Tagged:
Australia
history
nature
Tasmania
fossils
rocks
old things
tassie