1 Billion Year Old Cellular Fossils



Very interesting. I read a bit on their spectroscopic technique – scanning transmission electron microscopy / energy dispersive spectroscopy (STEM-EDS), which allows for elemental identification at very high resolution (sub Å). I have a biology question though. The Nature article says:

Monazite and xenotime preferentially occur inside planktonic cells where they preserve spheroidal masses of plasmolyzed cell contents, and occasionally also membranous fragments. They have not been observed associated with cell walls or sheaths, which are instead preserved by clay minerals or francolite.

What would “spheroidal masses of plasmolyzed cell contents” mean?

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