This is a beautiful polished slab of Neoproterozoic stromatolites (Pseudokussiella aii) from South Ural, Russia. These precambrian stromatolites have been dated to between 860 and 720 million years old. These stromatolites formed as frequent branching columns with smooth surfaces. The slab has been polished to a mirror finish and comes with an acrylic display stand.
Stromatolites are the layered trace fossils
of microbial life, primarily cyanobacteria. Some of them date back an astounding 3.4 billion years, making them the oldest record of life on planet Earth. Stromatolites and Microbialites were typically formed in shallow water by the growth of layer upon layer of cyanobacteria, a single-celled, photosynthesizing microbe. These layers often form very beautiful, and colorful banded structures in the rock.
These oxygen producing cyanobacteria were so simple they lacked DNA packaging nucleus, but were responsible for possibly the largest changes the earth has undergone. They were the only major source of atmospheric oxygen critical for the development of more complex life.