Life on Earth appeared 3.75 billion years ago – 300 million years earlier than previously thought

The first living thing on Earth appeared at least 3.75 billion years ago – about 300 million years earlier than previously thought, a new study has revealed.

The revelation is based on an analysis of a fist-sized rock estimated to be 3.75 to 4.28 billion years old from Quebec, Canada.

Researchers have previously found small fibers, handles and tubes in the rock that appeared to be made of bacteria. However, not all scientists agree that these structures are of biological origin.

Now, after extensive further study, a team from the University College London has discovered a very large and intricate structure inside the rock – a stalk with parallel branches about one centimeter long on one side.

They also discovered that there were hundreds of distorted spheres or ‘ellipses’ with tubes and fibers.

Researchers say that some structures may be formed by accidental chemical reactions, with the ‘tree-like’ stem with parallel branches often having a biological origin.

This is because no system created by chemistry alone has been found to do so.

So far, the earliest evidence of life on Earth is a micro-worm-like fossil dating back 3.46 billion years from Western Australia.

Dr. Dominic Babino holding a model of a rock 3.75 to 4.28 billion years old

Picture: The ‘tree-like’ trunk with parallel branches on one side is considered to be the most solid trace of life on the rocks. The main stem starts at the bottom left and extends upwards upwards, with the branches of the ‘pectinate’ (aligned parallel to one side) on the right side of the stems.

How the study was done

Researchers have examined rocks from Quebec’s Nuvvuktu subcrustal belt (NSB), which was once part of the ocean floor and contains some of the oldest known sedimentary rocks on Earth.

The study team cut the rock into pieces as thick as paper (100 microns) using diamond-engraved wood to carefully observe small fossil structures made of iron oxide or rust-shaped hematite. And covered in quartz.

They then compared the structures and compounds to the most recent fossils, as well as to the iron-oxidized bacteria found near water heating vent systems today.

This allowed them to identify twisting strands, parallel branch structures and distorted spheres (irregular ellipses), for example the Lohi volcano under Hawaii, as well as modern ventilators for other vent systems in the Arctic and Indian Oceans.

‘Using a variety of sources, our study confirms that there were different types of bacteria on Earth between 3.75 and 4.28 billion years ago,’ said Dr. Dominic Babino, UCL’s lead author in the Department of Earth Sciences.

Life may have begun 300 million years after the formation of the earth. Geographically, it’s fast – a rotation of the sun around the galaxy. ‘

The team also found evidence of how bacteria acquired their potential in different ways.

They found in the rock mineralized chemical by-products compatible with ancient microbes that survived from iron, sulfur and carbon dioxide and light.

These new discoveries suggest that there may have been different types of microorganisms on primitive earth.

They also have implications for the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

“If life emerges quickly under the right conditions, it increases the chance of life on other planets,” Dr. Babino said.

For the study, researchers examined rocks from the Nouveau subcrustal belt (NSB) in Quebec, collected by Dr. Babino in 2008.

The NSB was once part of the ocean, containing some of the oldest known sedimentary rocks on Earth, thought to have formed near the formation of hydrothermal vents, where cracks in the ocean pass through iron-rich water heated by magma.

Hematotic ebony (a rock rich in iron and silica) is a bright red compound containing tubular and fibrous fossils.

Hematotic ebony (a rock rich in iron and silica) is a bright red compound containing tubular and fibrous fossils.

Dr. Dominic Babino in his laboratory at UCL.  New discoveries suggest that there may have been different types of microorganisms on primitive earth

Dr. Dominic Babino in his laboratory at UCL. New discoveries suggest that there may have been different types of microorganisms on primitive earth

To carefully examine small fossil structures made of hematite, iron oxide, or rust and encased in quartz, the research team cut the rock into sections as thick as paper (100 microns).

These pieces of rock, cut with a diamond-engraved saw, were twice as thick as the previous sections cut by the researchers, which allowed the team to see larger hematite structures.

They compared the structures and compounds with the most recent fossils, as well as the iron-oxidized bacteria found near water heat vent systems today.

This allowed them to identify twisting strands, parallel branch structures and distorted spheres (irregular ellipses), for example the Lohi volcano under Hawaii, as well as modern ventilators for other vent systems in the Arctic and Indian Oceans.

For the study, researchers examined rocks from the Nouakchott Subracrustal Belt (NSB) in Quebec collected in 2008 by Dr. Babino.

For the study, researchers examined rocks from the Nouakchott Subracrustal Belt (NSB) in Quebec collected in 2008 by Dr. Babino.

In addition to analyzing rock samples (measuring light scattering) under various optical and Raman microscopes, the research team digitally recreated parts of the rock using a supercomputer that processes thousands of images from two high-resolution imaging techniques.

The first technique is micro-CD or microdomography, which uses X-rays to see the hematite inside the rocks.

The second is the focused ion beam, which shaves small – 200 nanometers thick – rock fragments, and an integrated electron microscope takes an image between each piece.

Both techniques created layers of images used to create 3D models of different targets.

The 3D models allowed the researchers to confirm that the hematite fibers were wavy and twisted and contained organic carbon, which is shared with modern iron-eating microorganisms.

In their analysis, the team concluded that hematite structures could not have been formed by compressing and heating rock (metamorphosis) for billions of years.

They pointed out that structures in microscopic quartz (less susceptible to deformation) were better preserved than coarse quartz (subject to greater deformation).

The researchers also examined the amount of rare earth elements in the fossil record, which they found to be similar to other ancient rock specimens.

This confirmed that, as some have suggested, the coastal sediments are as old as the surrounding volcanic rocks.

Prior to this discovery, previously announced fossils were discovered in Western Australia and are 3.46 billion years old, although some scientists have argued that they are non-biological, arguing that they are fossils.

How important is phosphorus to life on earth, and how did it get here?

Although not as abundant anywhere on Earth as carbon, hydrogen or oxygen, phosphorus is one of the most important elements for life on our planet.

It serves as the backbone of the long chains of nucleotides that make up DNA – the building blocks of biological life as we know it.

Phosphorus is also essential for cell membranes and cell energy-bearing molecule ATP.

Phosphorus may have come to Earth from meteorites billions of years ago.

The meteorite is believed to contain a phosphorus-bearing mineral called scribesite.

Scientists have recently developed a synthetic version of scribesite, which chemically reacts with organic molecules to provide nutrients for life.

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