Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Scientists found the remains of mysterious unknown lifeforms from 1.6 billion years ago

Published Jun 10th, 2023 9:09AM EDT
bacteria abstract, lost world of ancient organisms
Image: Viks_jin / Adobe

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

A group of scientists have uncovered the remains of an ancient lost world of mysterious organisms that are believed to have existed 1.6 billion years ago. The discovery hinges on the breakthrough detection of what scientists call “protosterol biota” in ancient rocks from Australia.

The scientists claim that these microscopic creatures help fill in a major gap in human understanding regarding the early evolution of a family of lifeforms with nucleated cells known as eukaryotes. It’s believed that these creatures thrived in watery areas across Earth over a billion years before plants and animals emerged. However, they’ve remained hidden from fossil records until this discovery.

Scientists have been working hard to try to uncover the roots of how humans and eukaryotics are connected in what they call Earth’s “middle age,” a period of time believed to start around 1.7 billion years ago. This middle age lasted for a billion years, as simple organisms at the time began to evolve into more complex life. This newly discovered ancient lost world could finally give us some important information about them.

evolution of plant, ancient lost world of organisms give glimpse into early evolution
The eukaryotes are believed to have existed long before plants and animals emerged in the evolutionary process. Image source: New Africa / Adobe

The researchers say that the discovered eukaryotes represent the “early stages of eukaryote evolution that did not yet possess a complete sterol biosynthetic pathway.” This makes them the “witnesses of an ancient lost world” of organisms, a world of ancient stem-group eukaryotes, which the researchers say were possibly more abundant in Earth’s middle age.

“Realizing that 1.64-billion-year-old rocks contained fossil proto-steroids was a true eureka moment for us.” Benjamin Nettersheim, co-lead on the new research, told Vice. It’s possible that the protosterol biota that lived during this time were the direct or indirect ancestors of the eukaryotes that are alive today. Though, it is more likely that they were cousins, the researchers say.

However, it is difficult to determine or even speculate what these organisms looked like or even how they moved across our planet, as they are only known from the chemical byproducts they create. The research is published in the journal Nature, and the researchers hope to learn more about this ancient lost world by studying the organisms more in-depth, and even learn more about evolution’s secrets, too.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.