researchers may have discovered the oldest fossilized traces continue moving creatures. The international Team, the string-shaped phenomena found in 2.1-billion-year old Rocks in Central Africa.

you could come from amoeba-like creatures, which were formed to a larger Entity, write the researchers in order to Abderrazak El Albani of the University of Poitiers (France). The oldest so far known such Remains to be 570 million years old. The study is published in the “Proceedings” of the US Academy of Sciences (“Pnas”).

The fossils come from shale and fine Sandstone of the Franceville basin in Gabon, and are from one to six millimeters wide and up to 17 inches long. The gear-like structures are lined to a large extent with pyrite, an iron sulfide, which is also known as cat gold known. On the Basis of previous research, the scientists to El Albani from the assumption that the pyrite formed as a result of a fossilization of mucus. To recognize in the Rock, also the former biofilms, i.e. Structure, which could originate from cyanobacteria.

As a point of reference for the life-form that has caused the tracks used by the researchers, a group of present-day Slime molds, specialist language Dictyosteliida. While amoebae (single-celled), joined together to form a larger Entity that can assume the shape of a slug. This happens when the food, mostly bacteria, is scarce and the amoebae need to get to new food sources.

Because of the found microbes movies El Albani and colleagues suggest that a similar process has resulted in 2.1 billion years ago to the gang-like structures. Thus have done in the bottom of a shallow Sea amoebae together-like protozoa, to search for a new microbial film. The slime-lined corridors are then turned to stone soon after.

“The Interpretation of the Franceville-structures than those produced by organisms, their behaviour is single-celled Slime molds comparable, is consistent with its morphological variability and its Occurrence,” the scientists write. They used a combined microscopic, micro-tomographic, geochemical and sedimentological analyses to examine the fossils in depth.

In the same rock formation also had a Team to El Albani, already in 2010, with other fossils, which today are referred to as “Gabonionta”. They are also up to 17 inches in size and are considered to be the oldest Form of multicellular organisms. However, the interpretation of these structures is controversial. There are also presumptions that she might have come in the Rock without the action of living organisms. If the former interpretation of El Albani, also multicellular organisms 2.1 billion years old and 1.5 billion years older than previously demonstrated.

dpa