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Microfossils suggest alien life may be common

Posted on Friday, 22 December, 2017 | Comment icon 10 comments

Primitive organisms may be widespread throughout the cosmos. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists have identified a diverse group of organisms within fossils dating back 3.45 billion years.
In a new report published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists from UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have outlined the discovery of several distinct organisms from Earth's distant past, including two that performed a primitive form of photosynthesis, one that produced methane gas and another that consumed methane to help it develop.

The presence of such a diverse range of organisms so early in Earth's history suggests that it is extremely unlikely that life would not have arisen on other planets as well.

"By 3.465 billion years ago, life was already diverse on Earth; that's clear - primitive photosynthesizers, methane producers, methane users," said study lead author J. William Schopf.

"These are the first data that show the very diverse organisms at that time in Earth's history, and our previous research has shown that there were sulfur users 3.4 billion years ago as well."

"This tells us life had to have begun substantially earlier and it confirms that it was not difficult for primitive life to form and to evolve into more advanced microorganisms."

"If the conditions are right, it looks like life in the universe should be widespread."

Source: University of California | Comments (10)

Tags: Microfossils

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Jon the frog on 22 December, 2017, 13:10
Sure, now we need to go and conquer !
Comment icon #2 Posted by khol on 22 December, 2017, 14:05
Thestudies are showing in the right conditions the precursors of life develop much quicker then previously thought. TESS launches next year will continue the search for exoplanets JWST in 2019 which among other things will look for bio markers in distant atmospheres. The fact we live in a time where we maydiscoversigns of life on distant worlds is just incredibly fantastic. Thereare still many challenges yet to overcome but... [More]
Comment icon #3 Posted by bison on 22 December, 2017, 15:47
Life is a miracle. This discovery suggests that the universe is full of such miracles.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Grandpa Greenman on 22 December, 2017, 15:54
If true, this makes me very happy and warm inside.
Comment icon #5 Posted by taniwha on 23 December, 2017, 20:22
A solar system from another angle then is simply a complex life support system.
Comment icon #6 Posted by taniwha on 23 December, 2017, 20:25
If life is found on another planet it will be business as usual here on Earth....carry on...
Comment icon #7 Posted by aearluin on 23 December, 2017, 22:20
Nice finding! It is no wonder evolution was fast early in the history of life. A whole planet full of opportunities laying completely void of life. Those firt microrganisms had everything in theit favour!
Comment icon #8 Posted by third_eye on 23 December, 2017, 23:50
Then everything started eating on each other .... ~
Comment icon #9 Posted by fred_mc on 26 December, 2017, 7:47
Yes, but that is what has driven evolution. The one being hunted has had to outsmart the hunter, which in turn has forced the hunter to become even smarter in order not to starve etc. If animals hadn't eaten each other we wouldn't have existed.
Comment icon #10 Posted by third_eye on 30 December, 2017, 6:11
Old Georgie speaks the true true ... ~ [00.04:43] ~

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