Hints for collection and study

Living bacteria are easily cultured. Take a sample of water from decaying pond vegetation and place a drop on a glass slide with water and a cover slip. Allow the slide to dry out in a warm, dark place. When viewed with transmitted light at over 400X magnification the slide will often be seen to contain clusters of minute bacilli. Fossil bacteria may well be encountered in thin sections of sedimentary ironstones, phosphatized faecal pellets, bauxites and evaporites, but the observer must be wary of the likelihood of more recent 'contamination'.

REFERENCES

Barghoorn, E.S. & Schopf, J.W. 1966. Micro-organisms three billion years old from the Precambrian of South Africa. Science 152, 758-763. Barghoorn, E.S. & Tyler, S.A. 1965. Microorganisms from the Gunflint chert. Science 147, 563-577. Chapman, V.J. & Chapman, D.J. 1973. The Algae.

Macmillan, London. Cloud, P. 1976. Beginnings of biospheric evolution and their biochemical consequences. Paleobiology 2, 351-387. Croft, W.N. & George, E.A. 1959. Blue-green algae from the Middle Devonian of Rhynie, Aberdeenshire. Bulletin. British Museum Natural History (Geology) 3, 341-353. Flugel, E. 1977. Fossil Algae. Recent results and developments.

Springer-Verlag, Berlin. Fogg, G.E., Stewart, W.D.P., Fay, P. & Walsby, A.E. 1973. The

Blue-green Algae. Academic Press, London. Karkhanis, S.N. 1976. Fossil iron bacteria may be preserved in Precambrian ferroan carbonate. Nature 261, 406-407.

Kazmierczak, J. 1976. Devonian and modern relatives of the Precambrian Eosphaera: possible significance for the early eukaryotes. Lethaia 9, 39-50.

Kobluk, D.R. & Risk, M.J. 1977. Microtization and carbonate-grain binding by endolithic algae. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geology 61, 1069-1083.

Kutznetsov, S.I., Ivanov, M.V. & Lyalikova, N.N. 1963. Introduction to Geological Microbiology. McGraw Hill, New York.

Riding, R. 1999. The term stromatolite: towards an essential definition. Lethaia 32, 321-330.

Riding, R. 2000. Microbial carbonates: the geological record of calcified bacterial-algal mats and biofilms. Sedimento-logy 47, 179-214.

Schopf, J.W. 1972. Evolutionary significance of the Bitter Springs (Late Precambrian) microflora. 24th International Geological Congress, Montreal 1, 68-77.

Schopf, J.W. & Barghoorn, E.S. 1967. Alga-like fossils from the Early Precambrian of South Africa. Science 156, 508-512.

Schopf, J.M., Ehlers, E.G., Stiles, D.V. & Birle, J.D. 1965. Fossil iron bacteria preserved in pyrite. Proceedings. American Philosophical Society 109, 288-308.

Walter, M.W. 1972. Stromatolites and the biostratigraphy of the Australian Precambrian and Cambrian. Special Papers in Palaeontology, no. II.

PART 3

Organic-walled microfossils

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