Oldest fossils ever discovered

Discussion in 'History' started by Plazma Inferno!, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Scientists have just unearthed what they claim to be the oldest fossils ever found on our planet. They're so ancient they predate the next oldest finds by roughly a quarter-billion years.
    These newly uncovered fossils are 3.7-billion-year -old traces of ancient microbes, and were found under recently melted perennial snow in southwest Greenland. The fossils were discovered by a team of geologists and paleontologists led by Allen Nutman at the University of Wollongong in Australia.
    These fossils are tentative proof that life formed very quickly after a violent and chaotic era in our planet's history—a period of intense asteroid shelling called the Late Heavy Bombardment that ended 3.8 billion years ago.

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/news/a22646/oldest-fossils-ever-discovered/

    Paper: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature19355.html
     
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    There's indirect chemical evidence that life may be even older than that.

    At least these newly discovered structures resemble stromatolites. That doesn't prove that they were. The Nature abstract mentions evidence of carbon sequestration too, which would make the morphological evidence much stronger.

    Right. That's what makes me a little skeptical about these early dates for the appearance of life. Even procaryotic bacterial life is so exceedingly complex chemically, that I can't imagine it just appearing without a protracted running start.

    In other words, I have trouble imagining the origin of life as a single event that took place at a single point in time, when all kinds of very specific proteins formed and came together in functional ways, along with nucleic acids that somehow already possessed a working genetic code, inside lipid bilayer cell membranes, the whole complex assemblage able to metabolize carbon, extract energy from the environment and reproduce itself from the very beginning.

    I'm inclined to think that life is either more recent than researchers currently hypothesize, or else it isn't native to Earth at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2016
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