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Discovery believed to be oldest fossil found at 3.7 billion years old.

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posted on Aug, 31 2016 @ 10:55 PM
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Were these biological?



Could these be the oldest fossils on record?

Well a team of scientists who discovered this in a very rare rock formation in a newly melted area of Greenland think so.

Dr. Nutman said there was a “diminishing probability” that older fossils will ever be found. Rocks from this period are very rare. Those that survive have been cooked to such high heats by geological processes like mountain-forming that evidence of fossils and sedimentary layers is destroyed. Most of the Isua rocks have been cooked in this way.


Dr Nutman and his team believe what they found is evidence earth's earliest microbes dating back to 3.7 billion years old, over 200 million years older than the oldest known fossil on record. This pushes life back into a time when the earth had orange skies and green oceans, and was still being bombarded by asteroids. It seems inconceivable that life could have begun in an environment like that, let alone thrive. It is why many believe this discovery will surely lead to heavy debate, due to the implications this can have on life origins and it's subsequent evolution.


If biological, the great age of the fossils complicates the task of reconstructing the evolution of life from the chemicals naturally present on the early Earth. It leaves comparatively little time for evolution to have occurred and puts the process close to a time when Earth was being bombarded by destructive asteroids.



If life on Earth did not begin until after the Late Heavy Bombardment, then it had a mere 100 million years in which to evolve to the quite advanced stage seen in the new fossils.

If so, Dr. Allwood wrote, then “life is not a fussy, reluctant and unlikely thing.” It will emerge whenever there’s an opportunity.

But the argument that life seems to have evolved very early and quickly, so therefore is inherently likely, can be turned around, Dr. Joyce said. “You could ask why, if life were such a probable event, we don’t have evidence of multiple origins,” he said.


I tend to agree, that this universe is made for life to flourish given the chance to do so.

www.nytimes.com...
www.nature.com...




posted on Aug, 31 2016 @ 11:17 PM
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"Life, uh, finds a way" -Jurassic Park

Seems not so far fetched that we will find the galaxy teeming with life since it seems to be able to flourish anywere.



posted on Aug, 31 2016 @ 11:18 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

So weired looking.. S&F.
It layers up while it does not. I'm going to put this in my Extreme'a'philes... file.
Thanks for sharing this.
edit on 31-8-2016 by Bigburgh because: Extreme correction

edit on 31-8-2016 by Bigburgh because: Sharing too



posted on Aug, 31 2016 @ 11:45 PM
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The first looks more distinct than the second but it looks high lighted. But at 1-4cm in size I wonder how they could have come into existence as its believed single cell prokaryotes came first then multicellular life. At that size i have my doubts but I am no expert by any means.

a reply to: PhotonEffect

edit on 1-9-2016 by Athetos because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 12:00 AM
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These Could have very well come in on the back of a astroid from where?? Who knows??..


RA



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 12:02 AM
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originally posted by: Athetos
The first looks more distinct than the second but it looks high lighted. But at 1-4cm in size I wonder how they could have come into existence as its believed single cell prokaryotes came first then multicellular life. At that size is have my doubts but I am no expert by any means.

a reply to: PhotonEffect


Yep, good question.

But Alga and Xenophyophore can get pretty big for a single celled organism.

So they have to decide if it is an organism or not, first.






posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 12:10 AM
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Yea in the first photo what appears to be segment or different coloured layers raises questions for me because I would not expect that of a single cell. Looks a bit like a earth worm really.

It wouldn't surprise me if life started earlier than we thought but to what degree is a mystery. Playing devils advocate it looks like a large bacteria as well.

a reply to: burgerbuddy



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 01:13 AM
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a reply to: Athetos

They're really trace fossils, not the fossilised animals themselves. The article reports them as ancient versions of stromatolites, mounds of sediments formed by microscopic bacteria. Similar structures can be formed naturally without any bacteria, but the researchers believe these ones were formed by living organisms.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 04:05 AM
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originally posted by: Bigburgh
a reply to: PhotonEffect

So weired looking.. S&F.
It layers up while it does not. I'm going to put this in my Extreme'a'philes... file.
Thanks for sharing this.

Sicko.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 07:18 AM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect


This pushes life back into a time when the earth had orange skies and green oceans, and was still being bombarded by asteroids. It seems inconceivable that life could have begun in an environment like that, let alone thrive.

I don’t see why it’s so hard to conceive of. In my opinion, life is a natural state in the evolution of matter. It is well understood that life did originate ‘under orange skies and green oceans’ or, to be more scientific about it, what is known to geologists as the Hadean Period.

From the abstract of the original paper (emphasis mine):


The ISB stromatolites grew in a shallow marine environment, as indicated by seawater-like rare-earth element plus yttrium trace element signatures of the metacarbonates, and by interlayered detrital sedimentary rocks with cross-lamination and storm-wave generated breccias... The presence of these stromatolites demonstrates the establishment of shallow marine carbonate production with biotic CO2 sequestration by 3,700 million years ago, near the start of Earth’s sedimentary record. A sophistication of life by 3,700 Ma is in accord with genetic molecular clock studies placing life’s origin in the Hadean eon (>4,000 million years ago).

These are the ‘footprints’ of the lifeforms that terraformed Earth.


It is why many believe this discovery will surely lead to heavy debate, due to the implications this can have on life origins and it's subsequent evolution.

I don’t expect to see any debate on it at all, except on the Creationist internet. We’ll see.


edit on 1/9/16 by Astyanax because: of a source quote.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 07:37 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

I think the "3.7 billion years old." is the interesting factor here. I the Earth is only 4.5 billion years old, then the evolution of life started really, really early. But it's almost as if we still have a tiny bit to learn.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 08:32 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

I agree with you to an extent. I think what the discovery does is push back the origins of life to perhaps just after the moon was formed or thereabouts. The earth was a really rough place to be back then. The question then becomes if these are in fact microorganisms in those fossils, how long did it them take to evolve to that state? Or how soon after the earth formed did life begin? Seems like it happened very quickly



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 08:44 AM
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a reply to: network dude

That is probably how it seems if one has not followed progress in the field very closely. In fact, this discovery only pushes the clock of life back about 220m years. See the link to the Nature publication in the OP.

a reply to: PhotonEffect


The question then becomes if these are in fact microorganisms in those fossils, how long did it them take to evolve to that state?

I don’t suppose it took them very long at all. Stromatolites are pretty basic fossils, essentially fossilized biofilms, not actual lifeforms. A bit like coprolite s, really. And it’s worth noting that


Very few ancient stromatolites contain fossilized microbes. While features of some stromatolites are suggestive of biological activity, others possess features that are more consistent with abiotic (non-biological) precipitation. Finding reliable ways to distinguish between biologically formed and abiotic stromatolites is an active area of research in geology. Wikipedia



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 09:11 AM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

This could also have a knock on for the chances of life on Mars , if life started so early on a primeval Earth then that must increase the chance and timescale of life on Mars , the chance of Panspermia between Earth and Mars would have been high with the scale of asteroid hits on both planets around that time , or perhaps life started on a primeval Mars and transferred here




posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 10:59 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
And it’s worth noting that

Very few ancient stromatolites contain fossilized microbes. While features of some stromatolites are suggestive of biological activity, others possess features that are more consistent with abiotic (non-biological) precipitation. Finding reliable ways to distinguish between biologically formed and abiotic stromatolites is an active area of research in geology. Wikipedia


Yes, hence the forthcoming debate over whether or not these are biological


originally posted by: Astyanax
I don’t expect to see any debate on it at all, except on the Creationist internet. We’ll see.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 11:02 AM
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a reply to: gortex

Yup, or any other planet with the right conditions. I think if these are what the scientists hope for, and the timing is correct, it's suggestive of life being able to originate in very harsh conditions – which perhaps opens the door for other types of planets, that are not earth like, to potentially harbor life.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 02:29 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

Seriously, I'm betting life is everywhere. We may not always easily be able to recognize it as such. Perhaps one day we will come to see 'life' as a special case of a more general phenomenon: the tendency of matter to self-organize at the expense of energy. An example of a fascinating postulate: the mass-energy cycle. But... does it exist?



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 03:27 PM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: PhotonEffect
the tendency of matter to self-organize at the expense of energy. An example of a fascinating postulate: the mass-energy cycle. But... does it exist?

Yes, I think life happens quite a lot in this galaxy if not the entire universe. Wonder what life could like here?

The self-organization aspect is what's really piqued my interest.
edit on 1-9-2016 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 6 2016 @ 10:14 PM
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a reply to: Athetos

The largest single cell organism today can grow to six to twelve inches. www.sciencedaily.com...




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