(Mirror Daily, United States) – A group of researchers discovered a 3.48 billion-year-old fossil which might change the theory on evolution of life on Earth. The microbe fossil would have represented the oldest life form on land, and might support Charles Darwin’s claim that life evolved not from sea, but from a “warm little pond” on land.
The fossils were discovered in Western Australia, among the volcanic rocks in the Dresser Formation in Pilbara. They are made up of layers of rock and bubbles which could have represented the oldest known life form on land. The previous holder of this title was 580 million years old.
The discovery shook the previous theory of evolution
The fossil holding the title of the first life form on the entire planet comes, indeed, from the sea, and is 3.77 billion years old. Therefore, scientists were baffled to find a terrestrial life form almost as old as marine life. They say that this discovery might incline towards a geological perspective on the origin of life, suggesting that life could have started on land.
Helping in the quest for life on Mars
Despite its huge importance in the theory of evolution on Earth, the fossils might have other applications, too. The Dresser Formation were formed almost during the same period as hot spring formations on Mars. Therefore, this discovery might guide scientists in their search for life on the Red Planet.
The Mars 2020 rover mission has already chosen some potential exploration sites. Among them, there is Columbia Hills, which scientists think might be a hot spring formation. If life could exist on Earth so far away in the planet’s history, then it might be possible that the same thing happened on Mars.
This discovery is monumental. Apart from moving the first evidence of life on land three billion years earlier, it also proved that land existed at the time. This scientific breakthrough can also help in the quest for life on Mars. All the findings were gathered in a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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