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The Australian National University

World’s oldest color found in ancient fossils

By crushing 1.1 billion-year-old rocks found beneath the Sahara Desert, scientists say they have discovered the world’s oldest color: bright pink. More than 500 million years older than previous discoveries, the pigments are fossilized molecules of chlorophyll that were produced by cyanobacteria, photosynthetic organisms that could be found in ancient oceans, The Guardian reports. The discovery of these pigments helps answer a longstanding mystery of why larger organisms were not around until more recently in Earth’s history. According to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the pigments show that while there were large amounts of cyanobacteria in the oceans, there was not enough of the larger algae needed to sustain a larger ecosystem and bigger, more complex organisms.

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