Discovered prehistoric pink never old-fashioned


The ancient Sahara rocks gave us a glimpse of how the prehistoric world looked in the beginnings – bright pink.

Neon pink in the sunlight

The oldest colored bacteria vanished 650 million years ago. The pinkish pigmented molecules appeared before the algae spreading.  It conquered the ocean life 1.1 billion years ago. And it was discovered in Mauritania, West Africa after ground shale rocks were transformed into powder “similar to a coffee machine”. The algae that preceded the bacterium had the role to provide “a burst of energy needed for the evolution of complex ecosystems”. But in contrast, the bacteria could stand the sunlight, which algae couldn’t, and ”when held against the sunlight, they are actually a neon pink.”

In large concentration, the color varies between blood red to deep purple.

The pinkish Chlorophyll from bacterium was conserved hardly in the sea ground. To remain intact, it had to stay away from oxygen and in a single place for billion years. Otherwise, it could lose forever its properties.

“Imagine you could find a fossilised dinosaur skin that still has its original colour, green or blue… that is exactly the type of discovery that we’ve made” – Assoc. Prof. Brocks told the BBC.

The rock sample was found 10 years ago by a mining company, after digging hundreds of meters in the former oceanic ground

“The bright pink pigments are the molecular fossils of chlorophyll that were produced by ancient photosynthetic organisms inhabiting an ancient ocean that has long since vanished,” Dr. Gueneli

Student-made discovery

The PdD student Dr. Nur Gueneli gave a new insight over the evolution of life on our planet. She only mixed an organic solvent with the rock powder.

Asst Prof Brocks affirmed “I heard her screaming in the lab when it came out, and she ran into my office”

“At first I thought it had been contaminated. It is just amazing that something with a biological color can survive for such a long time.”

The study was made public through the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Shawn and his wife live remotely in a 880-square-foot cabin along with their three dogs. They implemented many of the things they learned from the internet and trial and error. They have been helped by so many contributors over the years and desire to now return the favor to other Canadian Homsteading readers. They heat with a woodstove and cut firewood by hand from their 11 acres. They went back to the land and are essentially do-it-yourself people.


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