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Topic: Possible Evidence of Life Predating Australian Stromatolites Discovered  (Read 114 times) previous topic - next topic

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Possible Evidence of Life Predating Australian Stromatolites Discovered
It seems to indicate a deep ocean hydrothermal vent bacterial biota.

"3.77-billion-year-old fossils stake new claim to oldest evidence of life" | Science

Quote

These tubelike structures, formed of an iron ore called hematite, may be microfossils of 3.77-billion-year-old life at ancient hydrothermal vents.
Image Credit: Matthew Dodd


Life on Earth may have originated in the sunless depths of the ocean rather than shallow seas. In a new study, scientists studying 3.77-billion-year-old rocks have found tubelike fossils similar to structures found at hydrothermal vents, which host thriving biological communities. That would make them more than 300 million years older than the most ancient signs of life on Earth--fossilized microbial mats called stromatolites that grew in shallow seas. Other scientists are skeptical about the new claims.

"The authors offer a convincing set of observations that could signify life," says Kurt Konhauser, a geomicrobiologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, who was not involved in the study. But "at present, I do not see a way in which we will definitively prove ancient life at 3.8 billion years ago."

[. . .]

Taken together, the structures and their chemistry point to a biological origin near a submarine hydrothermal vent, the team reports online today in Nature. That would make them among the oldest signs of life on Earth--and, depending on the actual age of the rocks, possibly the oldest.

That doesn't necessarily mean that life originated in deep waters rather than in shallow seas, Papineau says. "It's not necessarily mutually exclusive--if we are ready to accept the fact that life diversified very early." Both the iron-oxidizing bacteria and the photosynthetic cyanobacteria that build stromatolite mats could have evolved from an earlier ancestor, he says.

[Continues . . .]


  • osmanthus
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Re: Possible Evidence of Life Predating Australian Stromatolites Discovered
Reply #1
Saw that. Seems to be a bit speculative at the moment. But hey, what's 300 million years here or there?
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  • Monad
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Re: Possible Evidence of Life Predating Australian Stromatolites Discovered
Reply #2
I suppose if they could identify analogous structures being formed currently under such conditions and whether these have a biological origin?

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Re: Possible Evidence of Life Predating Australian Stromatolites Discovered
Reply #3
Seems like this could be good for prospects of life on Europa, if true.