Warrawoona Group

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Warrawoona and Western Australia showing geological classification

The Warrawoona Group is a geological unit in Western Australia containing putative fossils of cyanobacteria cells. Dated 3.465 Ga,[1] these microstructures, found in archean chert, are considered to be the oldest known geological record of life on earth.[2][3][4]

The fossils in this group were discovered by Arthur Hugh Hickman in 1983 in Warrawoona, 32°42′S 118°0′E / 32.700°S 118.000°E / -32.700; 118.000 (Warrawoona), a region on the Pilbara craton in the northern part of Pilbara province.

Whether or not the fossils are authentic was disputed in the past, as abiotic processes could not be ruled out.[5][6] Currently the fossils are thought to be of biological origin.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV (2004): "Characterization Of The Organic Matter In An Archean Chert (Warrawoona, Australia)."
  2. ^ "Molecular evidence for life in the 3.5 billion year old Warrawoona chert". Adsabs.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  3. ^ http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU04/03612/EGU04-J-03612.pdf Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 6, 03612, 2004: SRef-ID: 1607-7962/gra/EGU04-A-03612: European Geosciences Union 2004: "Characterization Of The Organic Matter In An Archean Chert (Warrawoona, Australia)"
  4. ^ "Journal Article". SpringerLink. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  5. ^ Questioning the evidence for Earth's oldest fossils, Nature 416, 76-81 (7 March 2002) | doi:10.1038/416076a
  6. ^ H.J. HOFMANN, ASTROBIOLOGY Volume 4, Number 2, 2004, Archean Microfossils and Abiomorphs, McGill University
  7. ^ Dean, Tim. "World’s oldest fossils reveal earliest life on Earth", Australian Life Scientist, 23 August 2011. Retrieved on 2011-08-23.
  8. ^ Microfossils of sulphur-metabolizing cells in 3.4-billion-year-old rocks of Western Australia, Nature Geoscience (2011), doi:10.1038/ngeo1238

Further reading[edit]

  • Roger Buick, D. I. Groves, J. S. R. Dunlop and Donald R. Lowe (1995) Abiological origin of described stromatolites older than 3.2 Ga: Comment and Reply in Geology; February 1995; v. 23; no. 2; p. 191-192
  • Condie, Kent C (1981), Archean greenstone belts Elsevier Scientific Pub. Co. ; New York : distributors for the U.S. and Canada, Elsevier North-Holland, Amsterdam; New York ISBN 0-444-41854-7

External links[edit]