A trip to Shark Bay in Australia reveals what looks like a forest of mushrooms at low tide. These mounds of bacteria form stromatolites, the main communities of earth for over a billion years. Stromatolites lost out when animals evolved that ate them. So now stromatolites only live in water too salty or hot for those predators, as in Shark Bay or Yellowstone. So what do stromatolites have to do with black marble lines at Oregon Caves? They are the same, minus tides and about 240 million years. But of most interest is why they survived when apparently it wasn’t all that salty or hot. The answer may be why we breathe in and out every minute of our lives
Long before a meteor killed the dinosaurs, nearly all species and up to 99% of all individuals larger than a microbe suddenly died at the end of the Permian 251 million years ago. As in the end-Cretaceous disaster that killed the dinosaurs, only bacteria and fungi did well with so many corpses.