First Evidence Of Life On Land Found In 3.48 Billion Years Old Australian Rocks

Posted: May 10 2017, 8:36am CDT | by , Updated: May 10 2017, 8:38am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

First Evidence of Life on Land Found in 3.48 Billion Years Old Australian Rocks
Spherical bubbles preserved in 3.48 billion year old rocks in the Dresser Formation in the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia provide evidence for early life having lived in ancient hot springs on land. Credit: UNSW
  • Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48-billion-year-old Australian rocks

Some of the earliest life forms have been discovered in 3.48 billion year old rocks from Australia.

New fossils have been found by UNSW scientists in 3.48 billion year old hot spring deposits in a region of Australia. These are the earliest life forms on the face of the planet.

Previously, the oldest deposits were thought to exist in South Africa and they were 2.7 to 2.9 billion years old. Yet now that record has been broken. Life existed in much older times than it was thought to have been existent in.

What is being speculated is that life may have had its origins in freshwater hot springs that existed on land. The older hypothesis that life began in the ocean may not be true after all.

Scientists have two hypotheses regarding the origins of life on earth. Either it began in hydrothermal vents or on land. The ancient hot springs in Western Australia are a treasure trove of the earliest life forms.

This discovery may also point towards speculation concerning the existence of life once upon a time on Mars.

The area in Western Australia that contains these life forms are termed the Dresser Formation. They are located in Pilbara. During the early geological stages of the earth, the area comprised a volcanic spout.

The researchers found evidence of microbial life stuck between the sedimentary deposits of the rocks. Life basically evolved on the planet from a starting point about 4.5 billion years ago.

Some say cyanobacteria were the first life forms. Yet predicting how and when the wellsprings of life came into being is an inexact art. Also the team of researchers found casts of primordial bubbles in the rocks.

Whether they contained oxygen or methane cannot be determined with any surety. Yet it has been surmised that they must have been formed due to certain biochemical processes.

The sticky substance in which the bubbles formed has been labeled as extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). The scientists say that life forms in that environment grabbed hold of any means of survival and sustenance and thus eked out an existence on the earth.

There are older rocks in Quebec and Greenland, although no signs of life have been found in them. Yet it is too early to say what other surprises the earth holregards the earliest signs of life.

The findings of this discovery got published in the journal Nature Communications.

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