Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2748
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-2748
29 Nov 2023
 | 29 Nov 2023

Comment on Franz et al. 2023: A reinterpretation of the 1.5 billion year old Volyn ‘biota’ of Ukraine, and discussion of the evolution of the eukaryotes

Martin J. Head, James B. Riding, Jennifer M. K. O’Keefe, Julius Jeiter, and Julia Gravendyck

Abstract. Franz et. al. (Biogeosciences 20, 1901–1924, 2023) report a diverse and three-dimensionally preserved suite of mid-Proterozoic microfossils from miarolotic cavities within the granitic Volyn pegmatite field, a major granitic plutonic complex in NW Ukraine. The biota is dated at between ~1.76 Ga and ~1.5 Ga and includes fungus-like objects. This biota is reported as evidence of organisms living within the continental lithosphere, illuminating part of a ~1.8–0.8 billion year interval of the Proterozoic Eon characterised by relatively low climatic variability and slow biological evolution. We show that at least some of this putative diversity represents modern contamination including plant hairs, a distinctive pollen grain assignable to the extant conifer genus Pinus, and likely later fungal growth. Comparable diversity is shown to exist in modern museum dust, this calling into question whether any part of the Volyn ‘biota’ is biological in origin while emphasising the need for scrupulous care in collecting, analysing, and identifying Precambrian microfossils.

Martin J. Head, James B. Riding, Jennifer M. K. O’Keefe, Julius Jeiter, and Julia Gravendyck

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2748', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Dec 2023
    • CC2: 'Reply on RC1', Gerhard Franz, 14 Dec 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Julia Gravendyck, 02 Feb 2024
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2748', Gerhard Franz, 13 Dec 2023
    • AC4: 'Reply on CC1', Julia Gravendyck, 02 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2748', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Dec 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Julia Gravendyck, 02 Feb 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2748', Nicholas J. Butterfield, 22 Dec 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Julia Gravendyck, 02 Feb 2024

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2748', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Dec 2023
    • CC2: 'Reply on RC1', Gerhard Franz, 14 Dec 2023
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Julia Gravendyck, 02 Feb 2024
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2748', Gerhard Franz, 13 Dec 2023
    • AC4: 'Reply on CC1', Julia Gravendyck, 02 Feb 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2748', Anonymous Referee #2, 13 Dec 2023
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Julia Gravendyck, 02 Feb 2024
  • RC3: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-2748', Nicholas J. Butterfield, 22 Dec 2023
    • AC3: 'Reply on RC3', Julia Gravendyck, 02 Feb 2024
Martin J. Head, James B. Riding, Jennifer M. K. O’Keefe, Julius Jeiter, and Julia Gravendyck
Martin J. Head, James B. Riding, Jennifer M. K. O’Keefe, Julius Jeiter, and Julia Gravendyck

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Short summary
A diverse suite of 'fossils' associated with the ~1.5 Ga Volyn (Ukraine) kerite was published recently. We show that at least some of them represent modern contamination including plant hairs, pollen, and likely later fungal growth. Comparable diversity is shown to exist in modern museum dust, this calling into question whether any part of the Volyn biota is of biological origin while emphasising the need for scrupulous care in collecting, analysing, and identifying Precambrian microfossils.