Life on Earth began ‘earlier than thought’

Source: BBC

  • One of the earliest living organismsImage copyrightM DODDImage captionAncient life: These clumps of iron and filaments show similarities to modern microbes

Scientists have discovered what they say could be fossils of some of the earliest living organisms on Earth.

They are represented by tiny filaments, knobs and tubes in Canadian rocks dated to be up to 4.28 billion years old.That is a time not long after the planet’s formation and hundreds of millions of years before what is currently accepted as evidence for the most ancient life yet found on Earth.

The researchers report their investigation in the journal Nature.As with all such claims about ancient life, the study is contentious. But the team believes it can answer any doubts.

The scientists’ putative microbes from Quebec are one-tenth the width of a human hair and contain significant quantities of haematite – a form of iron oxide or “rust”.

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