The discovery of carbon in an Australian rock sample that was dated back 4.1 billion years suggests that life may have started on Earth way earlier than once thought.
Geochemists from the University of California Los Angeles have made a fascinating discovery. According to a report from Science Daily, researchers have discovered evidence that life may have existed on Earth as long as 4.1 billion years ago. This is almost 300 million years before the previous best estimates held.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that life may have gotten a much earlier start than previously thought. According to co-author Mark Harrison, “Twenty years ago, this would have been heretical; finding evidence of life 3.8 billion years ago was shocking.”
According to Harrison, a professor of geochemistry at UCLA, life doesn’t take long to spring up if the conditions and ingredients are right. The study suggests that life was present on the Earth hundreds of millions of years before the mass movement of rocks in the inner solar system, which left the moon riddled with craters.
According to Patrick Boehnke, Harrison’s co-author and graduate student in Harrison’s lab, “If all life on Earth died during this bombardment, which some scientists have argued, then life must have restarted quickly.”
Scientists long believed that the Earth was dry and barren 4.1 billion years ago, and that it was impossible for life to survive at that time. The new study changes this perception, suggesting that the planet may have looked more like it does today than once thought.