Living rocks: A fragment of the universe

Following directions from a young ecologist, Lesley Forwood and I waded through a shallow, ephemeral swamp in the south-east of South Australia and found thrombolites, rock‑like microbial accretions, which, along with layered microbial stromatolites and over a period of three billion years, became the source of oxygen for our planet. It was a rare, exhilarating, other‑worldly experience.

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