Whispers, 2002 -2004
The stromatolite. From the great underbelly of prehistory in the ancient PreCambrian when they would have been abundant. The PreCambrian period spans seven- eighths of the globe’s existence, yet relatively little is known about it. In this vast period life emerged nearly four billion years ago and the stromatolite is one of its earliest expressions. It was a crucial oxygen generating algae supplying the Earth’s atmosphere, so key to the course of oxygen dependent evolution as we know it. It no doubt witnessed an increasing diversity of life that we can only guess at. Read: My Favourite Fossil’
Whispers forms part of The Sedgwick Tapes.
The Australian fragment below left, was discovered in 1946 and is also from the huge PreCambrian period. These fossils of simple creatures : Dickinsonia costata Sprigg, were found in the ancient Ediacaran area of southern Australia and named after their discoverer Reg Sprigg.
Life would never be the same after a vascular system evolved. Special cells enabled an internal transport network circulating water and nutrients to develop. Life could now grow bigger. Plants capitalised by capturing the world above them. Up they went. There was no stopping them. Such intrepid first steps into the unknown were taken by early land plants like those of the vascular psilophyton below right.