Scientists Discover ‘World’s Oldest’ Color That Is 1.1 Billion Years Old

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You might have been told that Millennial pink was outdated, but who knew a variation of it went even further back?

A team of researchers from Australia, Japan, and the United States have uncovered what is believed to be the oldest color in the world: bright pink.

The ancient pigments were excavated from 1.1 billion-year-old rocks underneath the Sahara Desert in the Taoudeni Basin of Mauritania, West Africa, where a prehistoric ocean used to be. The bright pink hue is more than half a billion years older than pigments found previously.

Dr Nur Gueneli, who led the analysis for her PhD studies at Australia National University, describes that the pigments were “molecular fossils� of chlorophyll produced by long-extinct ocean organisms capable of photosynthesizing.

When concentrated, the fossils vary from blood to deep purple. Once crushed into powdered form, extracted, and diluted, they become a bright pink.

Aesthetics aside, the researchers say that the discovery of these pigments could indicate why it took millions of years before Earth saw its first sign of animal life.

The rocks from which the bright pink was extracted from contained ancient organisms called cyanobacteria, which dominated the bottom of the food chain then. However, they were too tiny to keep larger organisms nourished.

Oceans containing cyanobacteria were wiped out only 650 million years ago, paving way for algae, which was 1,000 times larger. This new microorganism proved to be large enough to “provide the burst of energy needed for the evolution of complex ecosystems, where large animals, including humans, could thrive on Earth,� says senior lead researcher Associate Professor Jochen Brocks.

Scientists have just discovered the world's oldest colour – and it's a billion-year-old bright pink

— Just Be Good 🙂 (@narangjprakash) July 10, 2018

Scientists discover world's oldest color

— robert lea (@learobert3002) July 10, 2018

If you’re intrigued about the history of colors, you might want to check out the world’s rarest pigments, some of which were extracted from now-extinct ingredients.

[via CNN, images via various sources]

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