Geology and Biology

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Geology and Biology

This is a transcript of a QuickTime movie (8.4 MB) recorded in the Pilbara in 2005. Adrian Brown, from the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, talks about the need for both biology and geology in the investigation of stomatolites in the Pilbara.


Scientists have only now been, well only in the last half century, been realising just how important it is for geologists and biologists to talk to each other and to understand each other's science. So much so that you are now starting to get journals and fields that are named geobiology and astrobiology and exobiology. And all these terms are actually a way of trying to get fields of biology and geology to talk to each other and to work together to try and tie together the sort of experiments that a geologist will conduct but with a biologist's frame of mind. So for example, the geologists will actually look at the rocks with the question in their mind how did these rocks form and what part did biology play in forming these rocks. So it's always been a question for geologists, but now with the advancements made in biology, they can now capitalise on ideas that microbiologists are coming up with, such as things about microfossils and filamentous microfossils, long hair shapes that can actually form structures and can preserve rocks together, keep them together under the biological action and not just as lifeless rocks, but as rocks where biology was so important that without biology the rocks wouldn’t have formed. And a classic example of that is of course is the stromatolites that we see here at Shark Bay. So geologists and biologists are now understanding that although their fields can be resolved separately, it’s more important and it’s greater value for story as a whole when they work together to come up with some sort of answer on how the rocks formed and how life lived in those rocks.




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