From this, to this, in just 3.5 billion years
Yesterday I photographed a Peace Lily that had suffered a major malfunction during its development. The mutations that cause such malfunctions are, of course, the raw material for evolution by natural selection. Today I have tried to emphasise just how remarkable a process evolution is, and what massive changes it has produced.
The strange looking object in the foreground is a slice of a fossil Stromatolite. First appearing over 3 billion years ago, stromatolites are the oldest known fossils. They were colonial structures built by photosynthesizing blue-green algae, and were responsible for the creation of earth's oxygen atmosphere. These organisms thrived in warm aquatic environments, building reefs much as corals do today.
Within 3 billion years, evolution has produced, from those early, humble microbes, organisms as complex as cats. What a mind-blowing journey!