Pigments were extracted from black shale.
Scientists from the Australian national University has discovered the oldest known fossil specimens of biological pigments, the age of which is 1.1 billion years. Bright pink petrified biochrome represent the remnants of chlorophyll, which belonged to ancient photosynthetic organisms.
Pigments were extracted from black shale — carbonaceous sedimentary rocks formed on the seabed. Sediments where excavated, are located in the basin Taoudeni in Mauritania (West Africa). To obtain the biological molecules, the scientists crushed rocks, and then analyzed the selected connection. Researchers estimate, these pigments are half a billion years older than previous finds.
The results of the analysis of biological compounds showed that they were synthesized in the cells of cyanobacteria which were the dominant form of life in the food chain of the ancient ocean. Only 650 million years ago began the spread of the algae, which caused the development of complex ecosystems with large animals.