Microbial contaminants may be introduced on outcrop as well as en route to or in the laboratory. Micropseudofossils may be natural or man-made. It is possible to recognize such misleading objects and important that they are not allowed to dilute the growing record of authentic pre-Phanerozoic life. Filamentous microbial contaminants from minute cracks in samples of ancient carbonate rocks from Brazil (perhaps 1 Ga old) and South Africa (???2.3 Ga old) are similar to occurrences previously described as fossils. Published records of supposedly Archean microbial life also include microcontaminants and laboratory artifacts. Although microstructures from sedimentary rocks of the Swaziland system could be fossils, they are not demonstrably so. The oldest structurally preserved fossils yet known seem to be the filaments described by Lois Nagy from stromatolitic limestone in the ???2.3 Ga old Malmani Dolomite of South Africa. It will be difficult to establish unequivocal older records in the absence of definitive ultrastructural or micro-chemical evidence. ?? 1979.
Additional Publication Details
On microbial contaminants, micropseudofossils, and the oldest records of life