OCT 20, 2015 10:15 AM PDT

Research Suggests Life Started On Earth Earlier Than Once Thought

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

If you ask a number of people when life began on Earth, you’ll get a slew of different answers. There are so many theories out there suggesting when life began here on Earth, and opinions continue to change day after day as new research is conducted and new findings are discovered.
 
New research conducted by scientists from the University of California in Los Angeles now suggests that life may have begun as early as 4.1 billion years ago, which is approximately 300 million years earlier than originally thought, which isn’t too long after the planet’s estimated formation from space rocks and space dust a little over 4.5 billon years ago.
 


Mark Harrison, professor of geochemistry at UCLS and the co-author of the research conducted, suggests that life many have started almost instantaneously after the planet’s formation.

"Twenty years ago, this would have been heretical; finding evidence of life 3.8 billion years ago was shocking. Life on Earth may have started almost instantaneously. With the right ingredients, life seems to form very quickly."

The early days of Earth probably weren’t as hot and dry and unsuitable for life as television will have you believe. Instead, the Earth was a space rock formation plentiful of life-supportive minerals, which actually made it quite easy for life to form in the early years of the Earth’s existence.
 
"The early Earth certainly wasn't a hellish, dry, boiling planet; we see absolutely no evidence for that," Harrison said. "The planet was probably much more like it is today than previously thought."
 
Harrison’s team studied over 10,000 zircon samples in Australia, which are hard minerals that can encapsulate samples for long periods of time. As a result, they work like time capsules, and what scientists find inside of the samples can help them determine what existed in the early days of Earth.
 


Scientists were interested in looking for carbon, which is an essential building block for life. Of the 10,000 samples, 656 of them had “dark specks” inside of them that interested the researchers. 79 of those were investigated thoroughly for traces of carbon, and one of them contained pure graphite, which Harrison is “very confident” is at least 4.1 billion years old.
 
They are able to date the zircon accurately, and since it has been aged at approximately 4.1 billion years old, that means the graphite inside of it is actually older than the zircon itself. This means life may have started at least 4.1 billion years ago, but may have even formed earlier than that.
 
Early life on Earth was very simplistic; it was nothing like life is today. Early life comprised of single-cell organisms, which slowly evolved into multi-cell organisms, which led up to the advanced species we have today.

Source: UCLA via The Telegraph

About the Author
Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 01, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
New drug could help repair nervous system damage caused by strokes
AUG 01, 2022
New drug could help repair nervous system damage caused by strokes
A recent study published in Cell Reports highlights a new drug that could help to repair nervous system damage caused by ...
AUG 19, 2022
Earth & The Environment
Time is Running out to Save East Antarctica from Climate Change
AUG 19, 2022
Time is Running out to Save East Antarctica from Climate Change
In a recent study published in Nature, a international team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, a ...
AUG 17, 2022
Technology
Artificial Intelligence Teaches Microrobots how to Swim
AUG 17, 2022
Artificial Intelligence Teaches Microrobots how to Swim
In a recent study published in Communications Physics, a collaborative team of researchers from Santa Clara University, ...
SEP 02, 2022
Space & Astronomy
How Impacts Affect Planetary Bodies
SEP 02, 2022
How Impacts Affect Planetary Bodies
In a recent study published in Nature Communications, an international team of researchers discuss how impacts that plan ...
SEP 14, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Looking Back in Space: NASA's Project Gemini
SEP 14, 2022
Looking Back in Space: NASA's Project Gemini
This series will explore historic space missions from the start of the Space Age to the present day, including both crew ...
SEP 21, 2022
Technology
Researchers Examine "Black Box" of Artificial Intelligence
SEP 21, 2022
Researchers Examine "Black Box" of Artificial Intelligence
In a recent paper presented at the Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence, a team of researchers from the ...
Loading Comments...