A patch of Posidonia oceanica, a species of seagrass native to the Mediterranean, has just gotten its DNA sequenced and its age determined--and as it turns out, some parts of this particular patch are up to 200,000 years old. That easily destroys the previous world record of the oldest living organism, a Tasmanian plant believed to be around 43,000 years old. Ha! A youngun!
Clusters of islands poked through hot oceans 3.4 billion years ago, when the world still had no oxygen and the seas churned under a pallid, overcast sky. But life thrived on Earth even then, scientists say — and now they have the world’s oldest fossils to prove it.
There were no plants or algae to photosynthesize and produce oxygen, so microbial life used sulfur for energy and growth, researchers say. Microfossils of these earliest microbes extend the sandstone record of life on Earth by about 300 million years.