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Bacteria: Fossil Record
This description of the fossil record of bacteria focuses on one particular group of bacteria, the cyanobacteria or blue-green algae, which have left a fossil record that extends far back into the Precambrian. The oldest cyanobacteria-like fossils known are nearly 3.5 billion years old and are among the oldest fossils currently known. Cyanobacteria are larger than most bacteria and may secrete a thick cell wall. More importantly, cyanobacteria may form large layered structures, called stromatolites (if more or less dome-shaped) or oncolites (if round). The site also refers to pseudomorphs of pyrite and siderite, and a group of bacteria known as endolithic. Two links are available for more information. One provides information on the discovery of possible remains of bacteria-like organisms on a meteorite from Mars and the other has a research report on fossilized filamentous bacteria and other microbes, found in Cretaceous amber.
Intended for grade levels:
  • High (9-12)
  • College (13-14)
  • Informal
Type of resource:
  • Text:
    • Ref. material
Subject:
  • Biology
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Geologic time
    • Paleontology
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1996-2000 by The Museum of Paleontology of The University of California, Berkeley; the Regents of the University of California; and The Paleontological Society. No part of the referring document residing on the server may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without prior written permission of the publisher, except for educational purposes, and in no case for profit.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-005-220
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 9-12:
      • C - Life science:
        • Biological evolution
        • The cell
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • Nature of scientific knowledge
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: University of California Museum of Paleontology