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The fact that they're significantly less than 1.2 billion years old will likely reassure biologists who were previously skeptical of the fossil, said Timothy Gibson, lead author of the new study published earlier in December in the journal Geology.
But the fact that it's more than a billion years old means that it's still by far the oldest recognizable multicellular complex organism.
And being on the younger end of the range would have put its age as being similar to other fossils of recognizable complex organisms, making it nothing unusual.
Now researchers from Mc Gill University, using a relatively new radiochemical dating technique, have estimated that the fossils are between 1.03 billion and 1.06 billion years old.
Once back at the lab, the researchers measured the amount of radioactive rhenium-187, a rare radioactive isotope found in seawater that accumulates in organic matter and decays to osmium-187.
Very little osmium-187 is found naturally in rocks.
In an email, he said people were skeptical that Bangiomorpha was really a red algae fossil because it was so old and there weren't any other eukaryotes similar to the ones who live today in the fossil record from that time."Most recognizable eukaryotes don't show up until around 800 million years ago."The reason it was so hard to tell how old Bangiomorpha was is that to measure the age of rocks, geologists typically rely on chemical techniques that can only be applied to layers of volcanic rock, Gibson said, and there wasn't much of that in the cliffs where the fossils were found.
The fossil organism identified as a red algae called , found in rocks on Somerset Island and Baffin Island in Nunavut, was discovered more than two decades ago and estimated to be between 720 million and 1.2 billion years old.Those organizations and persons should also refer to the applicable policies of CREA's Technology Committee.This website/database is a copyright-protected work which is owned by CREA.Working up there was a "dream come true" for Gibson: "It's a magical place I've wanted to go for a long time."For four summers, he and a small team helicoptered in to sites between Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay.
They camped on the tundra in lightweight tents at the tops of sea cliffs to avoid polar bears, then scrambled down to collect samples with simple rock hammers. To bring you the best content on our sites and applications, Meredith partners with third party advertisers to serve digital ads, including personalized digital ads.