Older evidence of life on earth may have been discovered
A few months ago, as we reported in a story here from Mega Curious, a group of scientists from the University of Woollongong, Australia, found a fossil in Greenland that appears to show signs of biological activity on Earth 3.7 billion years ago. - indicating that life may have emerged here millions and millions of years earlier than previously thought.
For isn't it that a new fossil, even older than the one found last year, also seems to show evidence of the existence of life on Earth? This time, the material was discovered in the Nuvvuagittuq greenbelt belt in Canada, and has signals that may have been produced by microbes at least 3.8 billion years ago - and possibly 4.28 billion years ago, hitting the age of the previous fossil.
Above, the fossil found by scientists at Woollongong University
By the way, if the scientists who found this material are right, it means that life may have emerged here on Earth just a few hundred million years after the formation of not only our planet, but also the moon, the sun and the system itself. Solar. In fact, if the finding is confirmed, the implications can be immense.
The fossil in question was discovered in a region of Canada that contains some of the oldest sedimentary rocks on the planet and used to house a submerged hydrothermal source system. In fact, they are microfossils, and the evidence for biological activity consists of tiny tubes that were possibly created by microscopic organisms that would have appeared around the fissures of the sources.
Rock discovered in Canada containing the microfossils
According to the scientists, these microorganisms possibly fed on iron and other elements that circulated through rocks at the bottom of the sea, and the tubes and filaments were discovered in an extremely old iron-rich rock fragment known as jasper - a type of mineral that usually forms in hydrothermal environments.
Tubes and Filaments
The researchers believe that after the microorganisms died, the iron in the water accumulated around their decaying bodies and eventually replaced their organic structure, creating the tiny tubes and filaments that scientists discovered.
Origin of life
The discoveries of recent years have challenged our understanding of when life emerged on our planet. The consensus was that this would have occurred between 3.4 and 3.5 billion years, however microfossil analysis indicates that the first organisms may have emerged 300 million years before that and, as we mentioned earlier, if confirmed, Fossil identification can have huge implications.
Tubes and filaments discovered during rock analysis
This is because, in addition to contributing to our understanding of how life arose on Earth, the discovery can help us look for traces of life on other planets as well. As scientists have explained, the fact that they (possibly) discovered the microfossils in hydrothermal vents that emerged so early in the planet's history supports the now famous theory that life arose out of such environments.
Another detail of microfossil analysis
Still on the environment where this material was found, the researchers explained that their similarities with more recent fossils and modern bacteria indicate that iron metabolism was present among the first forms used to support life on the planet alone.
Discovery can change the way we look at the origin and pursuit of life forms on other planets.
Also, remembering that microfossils suggest that life was able to stabilize and develop on our planet when there was probably also water in its liquid form on Mars, this means that if the conditions on the surface of the two planets were similar, then life could have emerged there also a few billion years ago.
The same idea would apply to the millions of young planets that are likely to exist in the universe - and which have Earth-like conditions a few million years after their formation: a place constantly bombarded by asteroids, with an environment considered inhospitable to human standards, subjected to radical variations every hundred years, and whose surface is covered with molten lava and water.