Accueil > Publications > Recherche par années > Années 1990 > 1999

Westall, F

The nature of fossil bacteria : A guide to the search for extraterrestrial life

Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets 104 (E7) 16437-16451

par Administrateur - publié le

Abstract :

In an attempt to establish reliable criteria for the identification of potential fossil life in extraterrestrial materials, the fossilizable characteristics of bacteria, namely, size, shape, cell wall texture, association, and colony formation, are described, and an overview is given of the ways in which fossil bacteria are preserved las compressions in fine-grained sediments ; preservation in amber ; permineralized by silica ; replacement by minerals such (as silica, pyrite, Fe/Mn oxides, calcite, phosphate, and siderite ; or as molds in minerals). The problem of confounding minerally replaced bacteria with non biological structures having a bacterial morphology is addressed. Examples of fossilized bacteria from the Early Archaean through to the Recent are used to illustrate the various modes of preservation and the morphology of fossil bacteria.