Data from: Diverse communities of bacteria and archaea flourished in Palaeoarchaean (3.5-3.3 Ga) microbial mats

Keyron Hickman-Lewis, Frances Westall & Barbara Cavalazzi
Limited taxonomic classification is possible for Archaean microbial mats and this is a fundamental limitation in constraining early ecosystems. Applying Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), a powerful tool for identifying vibrational motions attributable to specific functional groups, we characterised fossilised biopolymers in 3.5-3.3 Ga microbial mats from the Barberton greenstone belt (South Africa). Microbial mats from four Palaeoarchaean horizons exhibit significant differences in taxonomically informative aliphatic contents, despite high aromaticity. This reflects precursor biological heterogeneity...
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