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STROMATOLITES

Stromatolites are layered mounds, columns, and sheet-like sedimentary rocks. They were originally formed by the growth of layer upon layer of cyanobacteria, a single-celled photosynthesizing microbe that lives today in a wide range of environments ranging from the shallow shelf to lakes, rivers, and even soils.  Cyanobacteria are prokaryotic cells (the simplest form of modern carbon-based life) in that they lack a DNA-packaging nucleus.  Bacteria, including the photosynthetic cyanobacteria, were the only form of  life on Earth for the first 2 billion years that life existed on Earth.

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