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J Biosci. 2009 Nov;34(5):765-76.

The evolution and distribution of life in the Precambrian eon-global perspective and the Indian record.

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Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany, 53 University Road, Lucknow 226 007, India.


The discovery of Precambrian microfossils in 1954 opened a new vista of investigations in the field of evolution of life. Although the Precambrian encompasses 87% of the earth's history, the pace of organismal evolution was quite slow. The life forms as categorised today in the three principal domains viz. the Bacteria, the Archaea and the Eucarya evolved during this period. In this paper, we review the advancements made in the Precambrian palaeontology and its contribution in understanding the evolution of life forms on earth. These studies have enriched the data base on the Precambrian life. Most of the direct evidence includes fossil prokaryotes, protists, advanced algal fossils, acritarchs, and the indirect evidence is represented by the stromatolites, trace fossils and geochemical fossils signatures. The Precambrian fossils are preserved in the form of compressions, impressions, and permineralized and biomineralized remains.

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