Articles | Volume 20, issue 10
Research article
 | Highlight paper
24 May 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 24 May 2023

The Volyn biota (Ukraine) – indications of 1.5 Gyr old eukaryotes in 3D preservation, a spotlight on the “boring billion”

Gerhard Franz, Vladimir Khomenko, Peter Lyckberg, Vsevolod Chournousenko, Ulrich Struck, Ulrich Gernert, and Jörg Nissen

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Fossilization of Precambrian microfossils in the Volyn pegmatite, Ukraine
Gerhard Franz, Peter Lyckberg, Vladimir Khomenko, Vsevolod Chournousenko, Hans-Martin Schulz, Nicolaj Mahlstedt, Richard Wirth, Johannes Glodny, Ulrich Gernert, and Jörg Nissen
Biogeosciences, 19, 1795–1811,,, 2022
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40Ar/39Ar dating of a hydrothermal pegmatitic buddingtonite–muscovite assemblage from Volyn, Ukraine
Gerhard Franz, Masafumi Sudo, and Vladimir Khomenko
Eur. J. Mineral., 34, 7–18,,, 2022
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Geochronology of granites of the western Korosten AMCG complex (Ukrainian Shield): implications for the emplacement history and origin of miarolitic pegmatites
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Geochemistry and paleogeographic implications of Permo-Triassic metasedimentary cover from the Tauern Window (Eastern Alps)
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Cited articles

Alleon, J., Bernard, S., Le Guillou, C., Beyssac, O., Sugitani, K., and Robert, F.: Chemical nature of the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool microfossils, Geochem. Persp. Lett., 7, 37–42,, 2018. 
Beghin, J., Storme, J.-Y., Blanpied, C., Gueneli, N., Brocks, J. J., Poulton, S. W., and Javaux, E. J.: Microfossils from the late Mesoproterozoic – early Neoproterozoic Atar/El Mreiti Group, Taudeni basin, Mauretania, northwestern Africa, Prec. Res., 291, 63–82, 2017. 
Bengtson, S., Rasmussen, B., Ivarsson, M., Muhling, J., Broman, C., Marone, F., Stampanomi, M., and Bekker, A.: Fungus-like mycelial fossils in 2.4 billion-year-old vesicular basalt, Nat. Ecol. Evol., 1, 1–6, 2017. 
Berbee, M. L., Strullu-Derrien, C., Delaux, P.-M., Strother, P. K., Kenrick, P., Selosse, M.-A., and Taylor, J. W.: Genomic and fossil windows into the secret lives of the most ancient fungi, Nat. Rev. Microbiol., 18, 717–730, 2020. 
Blachowicz, A, Chiang, A. J., Elsaesser, A., Kalkum, M., Ehrenfreund, P., Totok, T., Wang, C. C. C., and Venkateswaran, K.: Protemoic and mteabolic characteristics of extremophilic fungi under simulated Mars conditions, Front. Microbiol., 10, 1013,, 2019. 
The study by Franz et al. provides exciting new insights into deep biosphere processes during the 'boring billion', indicating that fungi-like eukaryotic organisms developed before 1 Ga and that a deep continental biosphere was already present in the Early Mesoproterozoic/Late Paleoproterozoic.
Short summary
This research describes the occurrence of Precambrian fossils, with exceptionally well preserved morphology in 3D. These microfossils reach a size of millimeters (possibly up to centimeters) and thus indicate the presence of multicellular eukaryotes. Many of them are filamentous, but other types were also found. These fossils lived in a depth of several hundred meters and thus provide good evidence of a continental the deep biosphere, from a time generally considered as the boring billion.
Final-revised paper