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Stromatolites

Facts for Prelims (FFP) –

 Context: Researchers have discovered living Stromatolites on Sheybarah Island in the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia.

 

What are Stromatolites?

They are layered rock formations created by microbial communities, representing some of the earliest evidence of life on Earth. These structures are formed as layers of sediment accumulated over time, trapping and binding microorganisms like cyanobacteria.

As these microorganisms grow and photosynthesize, they produce layers of carbonate minerals, gradually building up the stromatolite structure. Despite their simple appearance, They played a crucial role in shaping Earth’s early environment and are considered significant in the study of early life and evolutionary history.

Stromatolites
Stromatolites

Modern stromatolites are rare, found mostly in extreme environments like Shark Bay, Australia. The discovery on Sheybarah Island provides a new site for studying these ancient life forms. Understanding these can offer insights into early life on Earth and aid in the search for life on other planets like Mars.

Source: Phys org