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Science & Technology

Life began on Earth much earlier than thought

By T.K. Randall
September 8, 2014 · Comment icon 11 comments

The discovery could rewrite the history books. Image Credit: NASA
Scientists have determined that oxygen-producing life forms appeared around 3 billion years ago.
Based on the work of researchers at Trinity College Dublin and Presidency University in Kolkata, the discovery suggests that oxygen-producing organisms responsible for making it possible for more complex life forms to evolve first appeared on Earth 60 million years earlier than previously believed.

The discovery was made by measuring uranium-lead isotope decay in the rocks to find evidence of oxygen-based soil formation.
"This is a very exciting finding, which helps to fill a gap in our knowledge about the evolution of the early Earth," said study lead author Quentin Crowley.

"This paleosol from India is telling us that there was a short-lived pulse of atmospheric oxygenation and this occurred considerably earlier than previously envisaged."

While micro-organisms certainly existed earlier than 3 billion years ago, it wasn't until this time that some of them evolved the ability to produce oxygen through photosynthesis.

Source: IBN Live | Comments (11)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by taniwha 9 years ago
And other questions to chew over, If life 'happened' by chance, at what point did it number more than just one life? And why did the first life even begin? Is there any point to it? Would not the earth still exist without it?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Silent Trinity 9 years ago
Perhaps in the future science will allow us to discover that life began even earlier than this. Our distant history seems to be turning up as many new discoveries as our futuristic experiments that peer ever deeper into the universe...
Comment icon #4 Posted by bubblykiss 9 years ago
Quick question was it before coffee or after racism? Because that time span can summarize just about anything I care about.
Comment icon #5 Posted by FlyingAngel 9 years ago
One question: is oxygen created by non-oxygen dependant organism or the oxygen promots the birth of organism?
Comment icon #6 Posted by Aardvark-DK 9 years ago
Life didnt just pop up, it came from elsewhere...meteorite...comet....But, that suggest that somewhere (close or not), has life...has the life forms from the original source also evolved ? My head hurts now...
Comment icon #7 Posted by bison 9 years ago
The article gives, in one place, the wrong figure for how much earlier oxygen became plentiful on Earth. It says 60 million years earlier than perviously thought. Examining the whole article fro IBN, it says signs of oxygen were found in 3.0 billion year old deposits. The previous oldest signs of abundant oxygen was 2.4 billion years old. That difference amounts to 600 million years not 60 million. The larger figure is far more significant. It suggests that life could have progressed much more quickly to a metabolically vigorous state, which is enabled by abundant oxygen, than was previously b... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
Yes, the age old question. Was life on Earth an accident? If not, who or what caused it and where did the who or what come from and who or what created them or it?
Comment icon #9 Posted by Hawkin 9 years ago
Perhaps in the future science will allow us to discover that life began even earlier than this. Our distant history seems to be turning up as many new discoveries as our futuristic experiments that peer ever deeper into the universe... Quite agree. And with those new discoveries history might have to be rewritten.
Comment icon #10 Posted by qxcontinuum 9 years ago
That is exactly what i've been saying in numerous topics Mars life related that life doesn't need too much and an awful multiple zeros years to evolve. And this is just a small step ahead dealing with such unknown data In those topics i was validating the possibility that complex life might have existed on Mars until the point it had lost its atmosphere, water and core proprieties.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Capt Amerika 9 years ago
So what are we looking at? 6100 years ago maybe 6150?

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