The world's oldest color was bright pink

11 July, 2018, 18:58 | Author: Kelly Sanders
  • Earth's oldest biological colour discovered in rocks beneath Sahara Desert

When they pulverized the fossils to analyze the bacteria molecules, the researchers distilled the colors to find a brilliant pink.

The bright pink pigments are more than half-a-billion years older than earlier pigment discoveries.

Scientists from Australia, Japan and the U.S. discovered the prehistoric shades after crushing down rocks extracted from deep beneath the Sahara desert, in the Taoudeni basin in Mauritania, West Africa.

"These pink pigments, their exact structure and composition tells us there was an efficient energy food source missing at the base of the food web", he said.

Nur Gueneli says that these pigments were taken from marine black shales in the Taoudeni Basin in Mauritania, West Africa.

In the 1960s there were reports of similar fossils uncovered from rocks up to several billion years old, but these days they've generally been dismissed as unreliable.

You can read all about the findings in their study here. The pigments were extracted from rocks deep under the Sahara Desert in Africa. The sample from the Sahara may be evidence that the cyanobacteria were the dominant lifeform on Earth over a billion years ago and caused an evolutionary bottleneck.

The color of the fossils ranges from blood red to deep purple in concentrated form, and bright pink when diluted with water.

That means nothing was swimming around, chomping down on morsels of sunbaking cyanobacteria.

The size of the cyanobacteria, however, was so minute that they were not sufficient for larger organisms such as animals.

This could help to explain why animals did not exist at the time, according to the researchers.

Earth is approximately 4 billion years old.

It was previously thought that the lack of oxygen may have prevented larger creatures to thrive shortly after life started on Earth.

The evolution of larger, active organisms was likely held back by a limited supply of larger food particles, such as algae, at this time. "[Gueneli] came running into my office and said, 'look at this, ' and she had this bright pink stuff..." Brocks believes oceans dominated by cyanobacteria may be the culprit.

But when the ocean disappeared around 650 million years ago, algae, which is a much richer food source for bigger organisms, was able to spread faster.

The first animals, which are either sponges or some sort of comb jelly, didn't appear until roughly 600 million years ago.



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