A geologist has discovered a 2,000-million-year-old “prokaryotic” microfossils in India. The microfossils were found in a carbonaneous shale from the Gawlior basin of the Bundelkhand region in Central India.
Naresh Ghose, formerly geology professor at Patna University, lives in the city of Bengaluru. His latest finding was reported at the recent annual convention of the Indian Geological Congress in Nagpur.
The prokaryotic microfossils—the remains of fungi, bacteria, planktons and animals—are considered the earliest form of life that existed on Earth. They are less than one millimeter in size and are characterized by an outer rim of recrystallized silica (quartz). The core of an individual microfossil is made up of carbonates (calcite) and a mixture of iron-bearing material. These microfossils can be examined only with the help of a microscope.
“The present study reports for the first time the presence of “organogenic” microfossils—derived from living organisms—in black shale immediately underlying the volcanic rock of the Gwalior basin,” Ghose said in the convention, according to IANS.
Mr Ghose revealed that the shape of newly found microfossils indicates that they belonged to a micro-organism.
Several experts, including Professor Jai Krishna, a leading palaeontologist from the Benaras Hindu University, have confirmed the identity of these microfossils.
“Therefore, the microfossils (Prokaryotic-RNA cell) in the Gwalior basin may be regarded as the confirmed oldest existence of life dated about 2,000 million years ago ever to be recorded from the Indian subcontinent,” Ghose said.
The discovery was made when Mr. Ghose was studying thin sections of sediments containing the siliceous black shale in the uppermost part coexisting with fine layers of limestone and particles of river-borne and volcanic origin.
“This important discovery was made using a simple and inexpensive device like a microscope without the aid of any sophisticated instrument,” he said.