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Fields & Applications Mass Spectrometry, Spectroscopy

Image of the Month: Old Mold

Transmitted light photomicrograph of filamentous microfossils. Photo credit: Andrew Czaja of the University of Cincinnati.

A team of researchers have used a combination of analytical techniques (including secondary ion MS and Raman spectroscopy) to characterize a 635 million-year-old microfossil – the oldest terrestrial fossil ever found (1). The image above shows the filamentous structure of the fossil, which has led the team to conclude that a fungus is the most likely origin. This finding could be crucial in helping scientists better understand the timeline of our planet’s terrestrialization – the emergence of organisms from the sea onto land.


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  1. T Gan et al., Nat Commun, 12, 641 (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-20975-1.

About the Author

Lauren Robertson

By the time I finished my degree in Microbiology I had come to one conclusion – I did not want to work in a lab. Instead, I decided to move to the south of Spain to teach English. After two brilliant years, I realized that I missed science, and what I really enjoyed was communicating scientific ideas – whether that be to four-year-olds or mature professionals. On returning to England I landed a role in science writing and found it combined my passions perfectly. Now at Texere, I get to hone these skills every day by writing about the latest research in an exciting, creative way.

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