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Scientists find 3.5 billion-year-old fossils


Posted on Tuesday, 19 December, 2017 | Comment icon 15 comments

The fossils date back to the early Earth. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Discovered in Western Australia, the fossil microbes are the oldest evidence of life ever identified.
Until very recently, microfossils had been the subject of considerable controversy among scientists.

While some had long maintained that these cylindrical, thread-like shapes were fossil microbes, others had remained adamant that they were nothing more than naturally-occurring shapes in the rock.

Now though, palaeobiologist Professor William Schopf and his colleagues have put the matter to rest once and for all by determining the carbon composition of the rock and identifying a correlation between the ratio of the carbon isotopes and the microbe-like shapes contained within it.

"The differences in carbon isotope ratios correlate with their shapes," said study co-leader Prof John Valley. "If they're not biological there is no reason for such a correlation."

Due to the relative complexity of these fossil organisms, some scientists have speculated that life may have arisen on our planet a lot earlier than is generally believed.

There is even evidence of oceans predating these fossils by up to 800 million years.

"We have no direct evidence that life existed 4.3 billion years ago but there is no reason why it couldn't have," said Professor Valley. "This is something we all would like to find out."

Source: Independent | Comments (15)

Tags: Fossil, Australia

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Almighty Evan on 18 December, 2017, 22:59
Wondering if they will make any connection to the similarly aged "life" from a rock allegedly from Mars. http://sciencevibe.com/2017/09/11/ancient-mars-meteorite-showed-signs-of-primitive-life-on-mars/
Comment icon #7 Posted by freetoroam on 18 December, 2017, 23:18
In this case there has been 10 years of research to get to these results. I do not understand how you are skeptical about this, you also do not accept these findings either: You are questioning and disregarding scientific findings and yet fall for claims about telepathy etc which have not been proven. Seems odd.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Carnoferox on 18 December, 2017, 23:53
They have been confirmed to be fossils of microorganisms through analysis by secondary ion mass spectometry (SIMS). Your "skepticism" would be lessened if you would read the actual paper.  http://sci-hub.tw/http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/12/12/1718063115
Comment icon #9 Posted by Aquila King on 19 December, 2017, 4:18
What seems odd is how you're only a 'skeptic' when it comes to claims that contradict the current scientific establishment, yet you take the title of 'Skeptic'. Seems odd. I did read the actual paper, and it's a paper written by scientist with the same potential biases that I've already laid out a thousand times before on here. For god sakes people, I'm not saying I believe it to be unequivocally false, merely that I am skeptical of it.  I guess 'skeptics' are only skeptics when it's convenient to them. Figures.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Carnoferox on 19 December, 2017, 5:05
Well you certainly didn't read it before your initial comments, because it isn't open-access and wasn't available before I posted the Sci-Hub link (which bypasses the paywall). You made your judgment before even reading the paper, which doesn't strike me as being very skeptical at all.
Comment icon #11 Posted by seeder on 19 December, 2017, 10:22
well Im happy with the paperwork that these are fossils...after all, they didnt jump to any conclusions did they? From the OP    
Comment icon #12 Posted by XenoFish on 19 December, 2017, 11:32
I'm skeptical too. I thought Australia was a myth.
Comment icon #13 Posted by seanjo on 19 December, 2017, 15:02
I'd like to see what the sceptical scientists have to say.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Aquila King on 19 December, 2017, 17:49
You're jumping on me because I didn't just believe it instantly upon hearing it. Tell me, how is that in any way skeptical? No, that's the opposite of skepticism. Again, I'm not saying I don't believe it, I'm saying I have questions, reservations, that I'm skeptical of and am questionig it's authenticity. Consider it an agnostic stance if you will. But I'm not just gonna believe it merely cause it's stated by some scientist(s). That isn't skepticism, it's dogmatism and blind faith.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Carnoferox on 19 December, 2017, 23:20
No it's because you jumped to a conclusion based on the news report alone without first reading the paper itself. Now that you've read the paper, what criticisms can you level at the methods within since you're skeptical of them? 


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