The scientists say this 2.5 billion year old microscopic organism is a living evidence that supports the famous theory of evolution that belongs to Charles Darwin.
The recently discovered bacteria date back to a period known as the Great Oxidation Event that took place more than 2.2 billion years ago. During this period, microorganisms like the one the scientists are currently studying, have started to appear.
The oxygen rise during this period was produced 200 million years prior to this by cyanobacteria.
During this period there was also an increase in compounds like nitrate and sulfate, both nutrients essential for the bacteria. Because of this, the 2.5 billion year old organism was able to reproduce at a very large scale.
The scientists are currently analyzing the fossilized sulfur bacteria that they found hidden in the rocks off the Western Australian coast.
The scientists noted that the microorganisms that were approximately 1.8 billion years old were not different than the ones dating back 2.3 billion years ago. The researchers said that what they discovered is very unusual because most living organisms tend to evolve and adapt to its current environment. The newly found bacteria have remained the same for more than 2 billion years.
J. William Schopf, professor and director of the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life within the UCLA, said of the newly found bacteria that it has not evolved for such a long time, nearly half the Earth’s history, and it’s an astounding thing. He adds that the bacteria’s lack of evolution needs to be further studied, since evolution is a known fact.
To some scientists, the bacteria’s lack of evolution seems to contradict Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. But some believe that the reason for this stagnation is that the environment in which these microorganisms lived has not changed a bit for more than 3 billion years.
According to Darwin, biology’s most important rule is to evolve only if the biological or physical surroundings change.
Image Source: io9