2 BILLION years old fossils appear to represent a first experiment in megascopic multicellularity

Abderrazak El Albani, Laboratoire HYDRASA, UMR 6269 CNRS-INSU, Université de Poitiers, France

The Paleoproterozoic Era witnessed crucial steps in the evolution of Earth’s surface environments following the first appreciable rise of free atmospheric oxygen concentrations ∼2.3 to 2.1 Ga ago, and concomitant shallow ocean oxygenation. Combined microtomography, geochemistry, and sedimentary analysis suggest a biota fossilized during early diagenesis. The emergence of this biota follows a rise in atmospheric oxygen, which is consistent with the idea that surface oxygenation allowed the evolution and ecological expansion of complex megascopic life.