A team of scientists from Australia, Japan and the United States discovered what they called “the oldest flowers in the world.” We are talking about brightly colored remains of microorganisms that lived about a billion years ago and looked like dark red, almost purple, inclusions in the mineral rock. And when extracted and processed, they turned out to be bright pink, while at the molecular level they are close to the pigment chlorophyll.
The bright colors of such ancient creatures is a direct indication for new research. What caused the riot of colors, what role did these pigments play in the life of microbes a billion years ago? In science, in general, there is very little data on the living nature of the Earth older than 600 million years, when large creatures began to appear, the remains of which have been preserved and studied. And ancient microbes that lived more than a billion years ago – a complete mystery.
Analysis of the found pigments showed that they belonged to tiny cyanobacteria, participated in the process of photosynthesis and served as a kind of limiting mechanism of evolution. More precisely, they illustrated a barrier that prevented living beings from receiving energy except from sunlight, and therefore limited their growth and the appearance of new beings. But then, about 650 million years ago, there was a major shift.
The whole seas, filled with cyanobacteria, were emptied, since a higher and hardy form of life appeared-algae. They ensured the explosive growth of the evolution of complex ecosystems on the planet, becoming an excellent feed base for new creatures. And the old, pink pigments, replaced green chlorophyll, modernizing the process of photosynthesis to the level of efficiency that is known to us now.