Just recently, scientists uncovered Australian rocks that seem to be harboring organic remains of microbes nearly 3.5 billion years old. This new data could provide important clues about the beginnings of life on Earth and even other planets as well.
Australian Rocks Holding Among the Oldest of Fossils
Study lead, Tara Djokic of the University of New South Wales, said in a statement, “Prior to this work, the oldest evidence of life on land was 2.7 billion years old. That wasn’t in hot springs, it was in South Africa in rich soils.”
She explains that this led most to believe that life on land must have adapted later on. However, this new discovery may point out that life did actually exist on land even 3.5 billion years ago.
That new date basically rewrites the history of evolution on our planet. Scientists also hope it can give them clues as to what to look for on alien worlds, especially Mars. There is belief that a younger, wetter Mars may have been able to form similar microbes. These Australian rocks can be a key in that search.
It also stokes the fire of debate around where life on Earth began. In 2016, scientists discovered fossil remains in Greenland that were 3.7 billion years old and located on the sea floor. That pointed to life starting in the oceans.