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Evidence of Early Life Draws Ire from Scientists

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posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 06:38 AM
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Greetings, ATS!

A study published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature has some scientists up in arms. According to Discovery News, the article suggests that life may have emerged on land 100 million years earlier than previously thought.

The reason for this change in thinking? Meet Dickinsonia costata, first thought to be an ancestor of a jellyfish-like creature or a sea pen.






The study, published today (Dec. 12) in the journal Nature, suggests that ancient fossilized creatures found in Southern Australian sediments actually came from land, not from the ocean. If the findings are true, the fossils would have been lichenlike plants that first colonized land, not ocean-dwelling ancestors of jellyfish.

Scientists first discovered the fossils in 1947 in the Ediacaran Hills of Southern Australia. The reddish rocks contained imprints from a strange, striated creature called Dickinsonia, as well as other primeval creatures that lived around 550 million years ago. (Extreme Life on Earth: 8 Bizarre Creatures)

Until now, scientists had long believed the rocks were made up of ocean sediments and that Dickinsonia and other primeval creatures fossilized in the outcroppings were sea dwellers similar to jellyfish or sea pens that lived just before the Cambrian explosion began about 540 million years ago, when all the major animal groups suddenly appeared.

But when Retallack first saw the fossils, he wondered whether they were formed on land. In particular, the fossils had a reddish hue that comes from oxygen in the atmosphere reacting with iron to create rust -- a process that doesn't happen under the sea, he said. He also noticed that nodules throughout the rock looked strikingly similar to the rootlike structures put out by primitive lichen or fungi found in other ancient soils.

To see if some of the Ediacaran fossils were land-dwellers, he tested the rock's composition and found it was characteristic of the very first stages of soil formation on land, in which nutrients such as potassium and magnesium are depleted. A similar process doesn't happen in the ocean, he said.


Not everyone agrees with the idea, of course. And just because the article is published in Nature does not prove it, although it will be interesting to see the peer reviews. But this is interesting, nevertheless, and I thought my friends at ATS might enjoy it as much as I did.

 
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edit on 13/12/2012 by ArMaP because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 06:52 AM
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A land dwelling jellyfish-like creature? Cool. I want one.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 07:09 AM
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I must have been miseducated. I was told in biology the first land dwelling life were pants and animal life came after



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 07:17 AM
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Nice find smylee.

Australia is already home to the oldest fossils in the world (a form of sulphur based bacteria approx 3.4 billion years old) which were found not too far from where I work (relatively speaking) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Looks like it may well now play host to the oldest land based fossil ever found.

Personally I can't see why scientists are so up in arms about it. Life has been proven to have existed 3.4 ba years ago, the adaption from sea to land is no greater leap than many of the other amazing adaptions that animals have made. Personally I would be suprised if life hadn't evolved onto land prior to the Cambrian explosion 550 millionish years ago. 100 million years really isn't all that long when we look at Earth's history as a whole.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 07:21 AM
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Originally posted by dorkfish87
I must have been miseducated. I was told in biology the first land dwelling life were pants and animal life came after


I'm gonna assume here you meant 'plants' not 'pants' unless of course you're assuming the first land based creatures were hairy clams and trouser snakes...

Lichens are creatures which consist of both fungus and algae (a plant technically) living within a symbiotic relationship with each other. So technically you haven't really been misquoted


You have to read the article. The pic in the OP was initially thought to be the ancestor of the jellyfish but this particlular scientist now believes it was caused by a lichen.


edit on 13/12/2012 by 1littlewolf because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 07:26 AM
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Originally posted by dorkfish87
I must have been miseducated. I was told in biology the first land dwelling life were pants and animal life came after


Whether that's true or not, and I think it is, you were taught what we had discovered so far. That's the trouble with this subject, you never know when something else will be discovered, I think that's a good thing though.
edit on 13-12-2012 by SpearMint because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 07:31 AM
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Originally posted by 1littlewolf
Nice find smylee.

Australia is already home to the oldest fossils in the world (a form of sulphur based bacteria approx 3.4 billion years old) which were found not too far from where I work (relatively speaking) in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Looks like it may well now play host to the oldest land based fossil ever found.

Personally I can't see why scientists are so up in arms about it. Life has been proven to have existed 3.4 ba years ago, the adaption from sea to land is no greater leap than many of the other amazing adaptions that animals have made. Personally I would be suprised if life hadn't evolved onto land prior to the Cambrian explosion 550 millionish years ago. 100 million years really isn't all that long when we look at Earth's history as a whole.


Star and flag for the OP! Well found!

About your question at the start of the second paragraph--teh only logical reason I can think of is that, in academia, grants and tenure frequently tie into your research line. I guess that something that goes against someone else's current research could be considered a threat?



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 07:46 AM
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And this doesn't mean that life stuck around on land during those 100 million years. It may have popped in for a million year run - like the Vikings "discovering" America and then turning tail - and died off. But this is really a good find and a very interesting theory, I hope "they" have a way to verify or discredit it. It looks like a very ornate creature.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 07:48 AM
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Lol yes I did indeed mean to type plants, and not pants
I'm pretty sure my iPad and autocorrect are determined to discredit me!

Back on topic: I've always had my own crazy theory that long before plant and animal life was here, fungal life thrived. Just a theory though and no legitimate proof



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 12:53 PM
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Originally posted by dorkfish87
I must have been miseducated. I was told in biology the first land dwelling life were pants and animal life came after


you said "pants"

2nd linio



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 01:53 PM
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let them argue. The truth is none of them really know anyway.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 02:57 PM
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I think I know why scientists get all upset when new information comes out that contradicts what's already believed...

They spend so much money on their stupid doctorate degrees learning what is now "crap science"


"Hell no I'm not happy about that! I slaved away and spent half a million dollars on my degree and find out half of what I was taught is complete garbage!?"

Yeah, I'd be upset too.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 03:11 PM
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Scientists have a history of rejecting any ground shaking information. Many discoveries have been delayed for decades because of this.

It will sort itself out in a few years.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 03:23 PM
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reply to post by SpearMint
 


A land based jellyfish like creature you say. Well then all one need do is go to NC and dig one of these nasty things out of the sewer.




posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 03:34 PM
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It is enjoyable to see traditional scientific thinking constantly overturned. It keeps life interesting and gives us something to look forward to.

The fact that this is in Australia does not surprise me. It has always seemed to be a very ancient land, older than anywhere else. Just a feeling.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 03:40 PM
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reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Great find! Do you think this throws carbon dating out the window?



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 04:04 PM
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Originally posted by jiggerj
reply to post by smyleegrl
 


Great find! Do you think this throws carbon dating out the window?


I haven't the foggiest idea. I do believe it could potentially turn things upside down......eventually.



posted on Dec, 13 2012 @ 04:56 PM
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100 million years! And we are suppose to trust in what scientists tell us? What else have they got wrong!



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 04:12 AM
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I have a small problem with this. If that fossil is at least 100 million years old. Why hasn't it turned into oil? In fact, no-one has ever found a fossil in the process of turning into oil. Why is that I wonder?



posted on Dec, 14 2012 @ 07:25 AM
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Originally posted by Dark Helmet
I have a small problem with this. If that fossil is at least 100 million years old. Why hasn't it turned into oil? In fact, no-one has ever found a fossil in the process of turning into oil. Why is that I wonder?



I'm not an expert in this field or anything but I believe that if a fossil has been calcified or absorbs whatever minerals from it's environment then it can no longer be converted to oil.

Regardless of whether or not a 100 million year old calcified or mineralized fossil could be turned into oil there are fossils that are much older than that. A quick Google search led me to this link www.baylor.edu... to a Baylor university page which discusses fossils that are as old as 3.5 billion years.






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