WA findings puts life on earth 3.5b years ago

Spherical bubbles preserved in 3.48 billion-year-old rocks in the Dresser Formation in the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia provide evidence for early life having lived in ancient hot springs on land
Oldest land-based fossils ever discovered suggest Charles Darwin was right about the origin of life
Author

13 May, 2017

The new find may give credence to Charles Darwin's theory that the origin of life occurred in some "warm little pond".

These are the questions that keep evolutionary biologists awake at night.

"The Pilbara deposits are the same age as much of the crust of Mars, which makes hot spring deposits on the red planet an exciting target for our quest to find fossilised life there."In September 2016, Professor Kranendonk was part of an worldwide team that found what is possibly the oldest evidence of life on earth - 3.7 billion year old fossil stromatolites in Greenland deposits that were laid down in a shallow sea".

The second suggests that life originated on land.

And not only that, it hints at the possibility that life on Earth began not in the ocean, as commonly thought, but on land-based hot springs.

Djokic and her colleagues made their discovery by analysing the incredibly well-preserved deposits of the ancient Dresser Formation in the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia.

The oldest fossil evidence of life on land has been discovered in Australian rocks, potentially extending the known era of land-based life by over 500 million years.

According to the new study, the Dresser Formation contains a telltale signature of land - a mineral called geyserite, which is found exclusively in the surroundings of terrestrial hot springs and geysers.

In those same rocks, researchers found what they call "a suite of microbial biosignatures indicative of the earliest life on land".

A microscopic image of geyserite textures from the ancient Dresser Formation in the Pilbara Craton in Western Australia.

Not only is the find exciting for what it might say about the evolution of early life on Earth, but it also has implications for the search for life on Mars.

"If you're going to look for life on Mars, we know it was preserved on hot springs here on the ancient earth", Djokic said.

Mars' next Rover mission in 2020 may land right next to a Hot Spring the same age as the Dresser spring on earth.

If life can be preserved in hot springs so far back in Earth's history, then there is a good chance it could be preserved in Martian hot springs too, the researchers said.

Importantly, all of these textures are comparable to fossil textures found in modern hot spring settings such as Yellowstone National Park or Rotorua, New Zealand. It was thought that life took another billion years or more to adapt to land, but new fossils discovered in Western Australia may shake up the timeline a bit. The previous holder of this title was 580 million years old.

We also found evidence of gas bubbles that must have been trapped in a sticky substance (microbial) in order to be able to preserve the bubble shape.

UNSW Spherical bubbles preserved in the rocks suggest microbes lived there.

The evidence gathered hints at an ancient Earth that housed volcanic craters, which may have provided the ideal breeding ground for primitive forms of life to emerge billions of years ago.

The scientists reported the biological signs of life which show that hot spring is present along with the rock.

"It's a significant finding and one that re-opens one of the biggest debates in science and that is, did life begin on land or in the sea?" says Professor Campbell from the University's School of Environment.

"The Pilbara deposits are the same age as much of the crust of Mars, which makes hot spring deposits on the red planet an exciting target for our quest to find fossilised life there", he added.


More news


  • Macron Told Trump He Would 'Protect' The Paris Climate Agreement

    A meeting scheduled for Tuesday between top Trump advisers was postponed , according to a White House official. Steve Bannon and the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, oppose.

    Goldsmith is NZ's voice at China forum

    In January, President Trump withdrew the United States from the partnership, putting the future of the deal into uncertainty. The U.S. attendance was part of a deal reached between the two countries announced on Friday.

    Coroner reopens case of bullied 8-year-old who killed self

    Doctors diagnosed him with a stomach flu, unaware of the interaction he'd had earlier that day, Branch told the Inquirer. Nearly eight minutes later, an adult in a dark suit is seen walking over and attending to a still unmoving Gabriel.
  • Madame Tussauds: Legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev unveils his wax statue

    Madame Tussauds: Legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev unveils his wax statue

    But it is not about having a fast bowling all-rounder. "So I think we have enough all-rounders in our team". Yes he is an important member of the team, he is a big player and he knows how to play and when to play.
    Sidney Crosby Not Evaluated for Concussion After Crashing Headfirst into Boards

    Sidney Crosby Not Evaluated for Concussion After Crashing Headfirst into Boards

    Let's face it, those shots are more likely to get blocked before they ever reach Fleury than they are to get on net. In 2009, Pittsburgh lost Game 6 at home before coming to Washington and winning Game 7 by a 6-2 score.

    Short-handed Spurs humble Houston to advance to Western Conference finals

    Twitter panned the usually on-point baller for some uncharacteristically bad shots, which Harden says was due to "rhythm". After a terrific showing in Game 5, Game 6 was supposed to be exciting. "We've got to get better next year". "It stings.
  • Justice League Not Better Than Avengers Says Diane Lane?

    Justice League Not Better Than Avengers Says Diane Lane?

    A lot of fans are hoping that this movie will finally put DC on par with Marvel, but Lane doesn't seem to think so. The Justice League movie in still in post production, so it's possible she hasn't seen the whole film yet.
    British Columbia Liberals hang on to win minority government

    British Columbia Liberals hang on to win minority government

    Notley supports the Kinder Morgan-led Trans Mountain development, a project that has faced blowback in some parts of B.C. Political science professor Kathryn Harrison suggested building a coalition may be more complicated than it seems.
    After Months of Rumors, Coach is Buying Kate Spade for $2.4 Billion

    After Months of Rumors, Coach is Buying Kate Spade for $2.4 Billion

    He said only 35% of Kate Spade stores overlap with Coach locations. But Coach executives say the Kate Spade brand is still healthy. Levitt also anticipated the benefit of Coach's guidance.
  • Merkel to host Macron for talks in Berlin on Monday

    Merkel to host Macron for talks in Berlin on Monday

    She spoke by telephone with Macron just minutes after his victory and praised his commitment to the EU. The Luxembourg-based ESM, operational since October 2012, is a bailout fund for eurozone countries.
    Gunmen kill 10 labourers in Pakistan's Gwadar

    Gunmen kill 10 labourers in Pakistan's Gwadar

    The official added that another labourer working on a boundary wall nearby was also shot dead, raising the death toll to nine. The CPEC is billed as a "game-changer" and manifestation of strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.
    GST best bet for states to improve finances: RBI

    GST best bet for states to improve finances: RBI

    The chief minister said that the Centre would compensated the state s tax losses by increasing 14 per cent every year to the tax collected by the state during 2015-16 for a period of five years.