Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Experimental taphonomy of organelles and the fossil record of early eukaryote evolution


Carlisle, Emily M; Jobbins, Melina; Pankhania, Vanisa; Cunningham, John A; Donoghue, Philip C J (2021). Experimental taphonomy of organelles and the fossil record of early eukaryote evolution. Science Advances, 7(5):eabe9487.

Abstract

The timing of origin of eukaryotes and the sequence of eukaryogenesis are poorly constrained because their fossil record is difficult to interpret. Claims of fossilized organelles have been discounted on the unsubstantiated perception that they decay too quickly for fossilization. We experimentally characterized the pattern and time scale of decay of nuclei, chloroplasts, and pyrenoids in red and green algae, demonstrating that they persist for many weeks postmortem as physical substrates available for preservation, a time scale consistent with known mechanisms of fossilization. Chloroplasts exhibit greater decay resistance than nuclei; pyrenoids are unlikely to be preserved, but their presence could be inferred from spaces within fossil chloroplasts. Our results are compatible with differential organelle preservation in seed plants. Claims of fossilized organelles in Proterozoic fossils can no longer be dismissed on grounds of plausibility, prompting reinterpretation of the early eukaryotic fossil record and the prospect of a fossil record of eukaryogenesis.

Abstract

The timing of origin of eukaryotes and the sequence of eukaryogenesis are poorly constrained because their fossil record is difficult to interpret. Claims of fossilized organelles have been discounted on the unsubstantiated perception that they decay too quickly for fossilization. We experimentally characterized the pattern and time scale of decay of nuclei, chloroplasts, and pyrenoids in red and green algae, demonstrating that they persist for many weeks postmortem as physical substrates available for preservation, a time scale consistent with known mechanisms of fossilization. Chloroplasts exhibit greater decay resistance than nuclei; pyrenoids are unlikely to be preserved, but their presence could be inferred from spaces within fossil chloroplasts. Our results are compatible with differential organelle preservation in seed plants. Claims of fossilized organelles in Proterozoic fossils can no longer be dismissed on grounds of plausibility, prompting reinterpretation of the early eukaryotic fossil record and the prospect of a fossil record of eukaryogenesis.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics

Altmetrics

Downloads

7 downloads since deposited on 29 Jan 2021
7 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:1 January 2021
Deposited On:29 Jan 2021 10:33
Last Modified:02 Feb 2021 15:06
Publisher:American Association for the Advancement of Science
ISSN:2375-2548
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abe9487

Download

Gold Open Access

Download PDF  'Experimental taphonomy of organelles and the fossil record of early eukaryote evolution'.
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 1MB
View at publisher
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)