A million year old green algae to shed light on evolution

Scientists in China discovered a multi-cellular green algae fossil, which is believed to be a billion-year-old and the oldest known fossil.

The algae named Proterocladus antiquus was found in a 1,000-million-year-old rock formation in China. It is only about one to two millimetres in size.

A team of researchers from Virginia Tech made the discovery. The fossils were hidden in rocks near Dalian city in Liaoning Province of Northern China. The discovery was published in Nature Ecology and Evolution journal.

The researchers said that the discovery will help in understanding when photosynthesising plants first evolved. Post doctoral researcher at Virginia’s Department of Geosciences Qing Tang first came across the algae. He shared this with Professor Shuhai Xiao of Virginia’s Department of Geosciences They both worked together on the finding. Xiao said that the study showed green seaweeds evolved not later than 1 billion years ago.

He also said that there could be disagreements with their findings and theories. Most of the scientists believe that green plants first evolved in lakes and rivers and then spread to land and ocean.



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