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Carmichael's Concise Review


spectrometry analysis also indicate contrasting textures and min- eralogical composition within and outside the strings. Very few minerals such as quartz are scattered within the pyrite strings, whereas grains of clay show signs of growth within pores. Te overall morphology of the Francevillian structures


suggested to El Albani et al. an organism that was able to aggre- gate and migrate in a similar fashion to that of cellular slime molds, leaving a mucus trail behind. However there are two sig- nificant differences between the Franncevillian structures and those formed by modern slime molds. First, slime molds live in soils, not in marine sediment. Second, slime molds are sig- nificantly smaller than these structures. El Albani et al. rather suggest an analogous situation wherein amoeba-like organisms with the capability to aggregate in a similar fashion could have been responsible for producing complex fossilized structures. El Albani et al. point out that it remains uncertain whether


the Francevillian string-like structures represent a failed natu- ral experiment or a prelude to subsequent evolutionary innova- tions. If their interpretation is correct, these finding challenge the conventional version of the evolution of life. It will be inter- esting to see if results from independent groups support this new conclusion or refute it.


References [1] A El Abani et al., Proc Nat Acad Sci 116(9) 2019 3431–36. [2] Te author gratefully acknowledges Dr. Abderrazal El Albani for reviewing this article.


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