The microbiologists on the team, led by Dr Sly, cultured currently existing primitive microbes under simulated conditions to those of the ancient forms of life, Dr Glikson said.
A remarkable resemblance was found between the structures of the cultured microbial entities at their stage of disintegration and those of the ancient microbial remains.
The other members of the UQ research team were Robyn Webb, from the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, a specialist in transmission electron microscopical techniques; Justice Baiano, from the School of Molecular & Microbial Sciences, who developed special facilities to culture primitive microbes derived from seafloor mineral-laden hot springs active at plate margins today; and Kim Baublys, from the Stable Isotope Laboratory, who undertook analysis of products from the culture experiments.
A comparison with organic matter from rocks of similar age in South Africa also yielded microbial remains identical to those from the Pilbara, further confirming the UQ work. This was achieved with the collaboration of Dr Axel Hofmann from the University of Kwazulu, South Africa and Dr Robert Bolhar formerly of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.