3,700-million-year-old life discovery in Greenland


This video says about itself:

The world’s oldest fossil: 3.7 billion year old bumps found on ancient sea bed

31 August 2016

Conical structures known as stromatolites were found in Isua, Greenland.

They were formed by prehistoric colonies of bacteria living in a shallow sea.

It suggests life may have emerged on Earth far faster than first thought.

The finding raises hopes life may have existed on Mars.

From Nature:

Rapid emergence of life shown by discovery of 3,700-million-year-old microbial structures

Published online 31 August 2016

Biological activity is a major factor in Earth’s chemical cycles, including facilitating CO2 sequestration and providing climate feedbacks. Thus a key question in Earth’s evolution is when did life arise and impact hydrosphere–atmosphere–lithosphere chemical cycles? Until now, evidence for the oldest life on Earth focused on debated stable isotopic signatures of 3,800–3,700 million year (Myr)-old metamorphosed sedimentary rocks and minerals1, 2 from the Isua supracrustal belt (ISB), southwest Greenland3.

Here we report evidence for ancient life from a newly exposed outcrop of 3,700-Myr-old metacarbonate rocks in the ISB that contain 1–4-cm-high stromatolites—macroscopically layered structures produced by microbial communities. 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 ISB stromatolites predate by 220 Myr the previous most convincing and generally accepted multidisciplinary evidence for oldest life remains in the 3,480-Myr-old Dresser Formation of the Pilbara Craton, Australia4, 5. The presence of the ISB stromatolites demonstrates the establishment of shallow marine carbonate production with biotic CO2 sequestration by 3,700 million years ago (Ma), 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 Ma)6.

See also here.

2 thoughts on “3,700-million-year-old life discovery in Greenland

  1. Pingback: 3,700-million-year-old life discovery in Greenland — Dear Kitty. Some blog | Manolis

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