Cell biology Evolution Intelligent Design Origin Of Life

Researchers: Ancestor of all life existed four billion years ago

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Moon during the Late Heavy Bombardment (artist’s impression)/ Timewether (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Surviving the Late Heavy Bombardment:

We find that the “last universal common ancestor” – a hypothetical very early single cell from which all life on Earth descended – existed prior to the “late heavy bombardment”. This was a period of intense meteor bombardment sustained by our planet about 3.9 billion years ago. This is significantly earlier than the currently accepted oldest fossil evidence would suggest (estimating 3.5-3.8 billion years ago).

The oldest confirmed fossils are from about 3.4 billion years ago, while the oldest potential fossils have been found on Greenland and date back to about 3.8 billion years ago. There’s also a suggestion that carbon found in a 4.1 billion-year-old mineral called zircon could be biological in nature. However, scientists have so far been unable to confirm that.

Some researchers think it would have been impossible for life to survive the late heavy bombardment, so that our oldest ancestor must be from after this phase. There are claims that the event would have sterilised the plants and vaporised any water around at the time. However, there are some recent mathematical models which suggest that pockets suitable for life could have remained.Holly Betts, “Ancestor of all life on Earth evolved earlier than we thought, according to our new timescale” at The Conversation

Earth is thought to be about 4.5 billion years old. That’s less time than ever for complex cellular dynamics to just sort of swish into place one day … but maybe the researchers who don’t discuss the problem are implicitly conceding that the chance scenario isn’t possible anyway. They can hardly do any harm by making the impossible less likely. 😉

See also: Earlier than thought: Worm burrows at rock layers over 600 million years ago

Researchers suggest: Life began on land not sea. And nearly 600 mya earlier than thought

Oldest known multicellulars are Ediacaran seaweed 555 mya

and

Stasis: Life goes on but evolution does not happen

 

Researchers’ proposed timescale,

A timescale for the evolution of life on Earth summarising the findings of the new study/University of Bristol

5 Replies to “Researchers: Ancestor of all life existed four billion years ago

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    The picture of Earth in the linked article is at least as valuable as the article itself. Here’s a version without the title intruding.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    And yet they don’t have a mechanism that can produce ATP synthase and they don’t have one to produce eukaryotes.

    They can’t even get started

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    “Some researchers think it would have been impossible …”

    After thousands of previous Would Have Been Impossibles have turned out to be possible, you’d think it Would Be Impossible for sensible scientists to make this claim.

    Life has a way of breaking through all impossibles.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Information precedes biological life. Moreover, information, like qualia for consciousness, is the ‘hard problem’ of life

    The “Hard Problem” of Life – Sara Imari Walker and Paul C.W. Davies = June 23, 2016
    Excerpt: ,,,in the same way that Chalmers identified qualia as central to the hard problem of consciousness. To that end we propose that the hard problem of life is the problem of how ‘information’ can affect the world. In this essay we motivate both why the problem of information is central to explaining life and why it is hard, that is, why we suspect that a full resolution of the hard problem will not ultimately be reducible to known physical principles.,,,
    ,,, There are some indications for a potentially deep connection between information theory (which is not cast as a physical theory and instead quantifies the efficacy of communication through noisy channels), and thermodynamics, which is a branch of physics(5) due to the mathematical relationship between Shannon and Boltzmann entropies. Substantial work over the last decade has attempted to make this connection explicit, we point the reader to [22, 20] for recent reviews. Schrodinger was aware of this link in his deliberations on biology, and famously coined the term “negentropy” to describe life’s ability to seemingly violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics(6) . Yet he felt that something was missing, and that thermodynamic considerations alone are insufficient to explain life [26]:

    “. . .living matter, while not eluding the ”laws of physics” as established up to date, is likely to involve ”other laws of physics” hitherto unknown . . . ”
    – Erwin Schrodinger

    ,,, There are many difficult open problems in understanding the origin of life – such as the ‘tar paradox’ [2] and the fact that prebiotic chemistry is just plain hard to do. These problems differ qualitatively from the ‘hard problem of life’ as identified here. Most open problems associated with life’s origin such as these, while challenging right now, will likely ultimately reduce to known principles of physics and chemistry and therefore constitute by our definition “easy problems”. Here we have attempted to identify a core feature of life that won’t similarly be solved based on current paradigms – namely, that life seems distinct from other physical systems in how information affects the world (that is, that macrostates are causal).,,,
    To quote Einstein, ‘One can best feel in dealing with living things how primitive physics still is.’
    ( A. Einstein, letter to L. Szilard quoted in [25]).
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1606.07184v1.pdf

    And as Paul Davies had somewhat hypothesized in the preceding paper, information is now shown to be a cause rather than an effect.

    Specifically, information has now been experimentally shown to have a ‘thermodynamic content’:

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    http://www.scientificamerican......rts-inform

    Maxwell’s demon demonstration (knowledge of a particle’s position) turns information into energy – November 2010
    Excerpt: Scientists in Japan are the first to have succeeded in converting information into free energy in an experiment that verifies the “Maxwell demon” thought experiment devised in 1867.,,, In Maxwell’s thought experiment the demon creates a temperature difference simply from information about the gas molecule temperatures and without transferring any energy directly to them.,,, Until now, demonstrating the conversion of information to energy has been elusive, but University of Tokyo physicist Masaki Sano and colleagues have succeeded in demonstrating it in a nano-scale experiment. In a paper published in Nature Physics they describe how they coaxed a Brownian particle to travel upwards on a “spiral-staircase-like” potential energy created by an electric field solely on the basis of information on its location. As the particle traveled up the staircase it gained energy from moving to an area of higher potential, and the team was able to measure precisely how much energy had been converted from information.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    Of related note to immaterial information having a ‘thermodynamic content’, classical digital information was found to be a subset of ‘non-local’, (i.e. beyond space and time), quantum entanglement/information by the following method which removed heat from a computer by the deletion of data:

    Quantum knowledge cools computers: New understanding of entropy – June 2011
    Excerpt: No heat, even a cooling effect;
    In the case of perfect classical knowledge of a computer memory (zero entropy), deletion of the data requires in theory no energy at all. The researchers prove that “more than complete knowledge” from quantum entanglement with the memory (negative entropy) leads to deletion of the data being accompanied by removal of heat from the computer and its release as usable energy. This is the physical meaning of negative entropy. Renner emphasizes, however, “This doesn’t mean that we can develop a perpetual motion machine.” The data can only be deleted once, so there is no possibility to continue to generate energy. The process also destroys the entanglement, and it would take an input of energy to reset the system to its starting state. The equations are consistent with what’s known as the second law of thermodynamics: the idea that the entropy of the universe can never decrease. Vedral says “We’re working on the edge of the second law. If you go any further, you will break it.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....134300.htm

    And in direct contradiction to Landauer’s (and Darwinian) contentions that immaterial information does not exist independent of matter and energy, Dr Vaccaro states in regard to the preceding thought experiment that “Landauer said that information is physical because it takes energy to erase it. We are saying that the reason it (information) is physical has a broader context than that.”,

    Scientists show how to erase information without using energy – January 2011
    Excerpt: Until now, scientists have thought that the process of erasing information requires energy. But a new study shows that, theoretically, information can be erased without using any energy at all.,,, “Landauer said that information is physical because it takes energy to erase it. We are saying that the reason it (information) is physical has a broader context than that.”, Vaccaro explained.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....nergy.html

    Information is physical (but not how Rolf Landauer meant) – video
    https://youtu.be/H35I83y5Uro

    Here are a few more notes demonstrating the fact that ‘information is physical’:

    Matter, energy… knowledge: – May 11, 2016
    Running a brain-twisting thought experiment for real shows that information is a physical thing – so can we now harness the most elusive entity in the cosmos?
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23030730-200-demon-no-more-physics-most-elusive-entity-gives-up-its-secret/

    New Scientist astounds: Information is physical – May 13, 2016
    Excerpt: Recently came the most startling demonstration yet: a tiny machine powered purely by information, which chilled metal through the power of its knowledge. This seemingly magical device could put us on the road to new, more efficient nanoscale machines, a better understanding of the workings of life, and a more complete picture of perhaps our most fundamental theory of the physical world.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-physical/

    Information engine operates with nearly perfect efficiency – Lisa Zyga – January 19, 2018
    Excerpt: Physicists have experimentally demonstrated an information engine—a device that converts information into work—with an efficiency that exceeds the conventional second law of thermodynamics. Instead, the engine’s efficiency is bounded by a recently proposed generalized second law of thermodynamics, and it is the first information engine to approach this new bound.,,,
    The generalized second law of thermodynamics states that the work extracted from an information engine is limited by the sum of two components: the first is the free energy difference between the final and initial states (this is the sole limit placed on conventional engines by the conventional second law), and the other is the amount of available information (this part sets an upper bound on the extra work that can be extracted from information).
    To achieve the maximum efficiency set by the generalized second law, the researchers in the new study designed and implemented an information engine made of a particle trapped by light at room temperature. Random thermal fluctuations cause the tiny particle to move slightly due to Brownian motion, and a photodiode tracks the particle’s changing position with a spatial accuracy of 1 nanometer. If the particle moves more than a certain distance away from its starting point in a certain direction, the light trap quickly shifts in the direction of the particle. This process repeats, so that over time the engine transports the particle in a desired direction simply by extracting work from the information it obtains from the system’s random thermal fluctuations (the free energy component here is zero, so it does not contribute to the work extracted).
    One of the most important features of this system is its nearly instantaneous feedback response: the trap shifts in just a fraction of a millisecond, giving the particle no time to move further and dissipate energy. As a result, almost none of the energy gained by the shift is lost to heat, but rather nearly all of it is converted into work. By avoiding practically any information loss, the information-to-energy conversion of this process reaches approximately 98.5% of the bound set by the generalized second law. The results lend support for this bound, and illustrate the possibility of extracting the maximum amount of work possible from information.
    https://phys.org/news/2018-01-efficiency.html

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Although the preceding is certainly very strong evidence for the physical reality of immaterial information, the coup de grace for demonstrating that immaterial information is its own distinct physical entity, separate from matter and energy, is Quantum Teleportation:

    Quantum Teleportation Enters the Real World – September 19, 2016
    Excerpt: Two separate teams of scientists have taken quantum teleportation from the lab into the real world.
    Researchers working in Calgary, Canada and Hefei, China, used existing fiber optics networks to transmit small units of information across cities via quantum entanglement — Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.”,,,
    This isn’t teleportation in the “Star Trek” sense — the photons aren’t disappearing from one place and appearing in another. Instead, it’s the information that’s being teleported through quantum entanglement.,,,
    ,,, it is only the information that gets teleported from one place to another.
    http://blogs.discovermagazine......-HqWNEoDtR

    Moreover, this physically real quantum information which is shown to have, contrary to Landauer’s (and Darwinian) assertions, an existence that is separate from matter and energy, is also found to be ‘conserved’. That is to say, ‘the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.’

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    As well this physically real quantum information, which cannot be created or destroyed, is also now found in molecular biology on a massive scale. In every DNA and protein molecule:

    “What happens is this classical information (of DNA) is embedded, sandwiched, into the quantum information (of DNA). And most likely this classical information is never accessed because it is inside all the quantum information. You can only access the quantum information or the electron clouds and the protons. So mathematically you can describe that as a quantum/classical state.”
    Elisabeth Rieper – Classical and Quantum Information in DNA – video (Longitudinal Quantum Information resides along the entire length of DNA discussed at the 19:30 minute mark; at 24:00 minute mark Dr Rieper remarks that practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it)
    https://youtu.be/2nqHOnVTxJE?t=1176

    Quantum coherent-like state observed in a biological protein for the first time – October 13, 2015
    Excerpt: If you take certain atoms and make them almost as cold as they possibly can be, the atoms will fuse into a collective low-energy quantum state called a Bose-Einstein condensate. In 1968 physicist Herbert Fröhlich predicted that a similar process at a much higher temperature could concentrate all of the vibrational energy in a biological protein into its lowest-frequency vibrational mode. Now scientists in Sweden and Germany have the first experimental evidence of such so-called Fröhlich condensation (in proteins).,,,
    The real-world support for Fröhlich’s theory (for proteins) took so long to obtain because of the technical challenges of the experiment, Katona said.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-10-q.....otein.html

    Quantum criticality in a wide range of important biomolecules
    Excerpt: “Most of the molecules taking part actively in biochemical processes are tuned exactly to the transition point and are critical conductors,” they say.
    That’s a discovery that is as important as it is unexpected. “These findings suggest an entirely new and universal mechanism of conductance in biology very different from the one used in electrical circuits.”
    The permutations of possible energy levels of biomolecules is huge so the possibility of finding even one that is in the quantum critical state by accident is mind-bogglingly small and, to all intents and purposes, impossible.,, of the order of 10^-50 of possible small biomolecules and even less for proteins,”,,,
    “what exactly is the advantage that criticality confers?”
    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-origin-of-life-and-the-hidden-role-of-quantum-criticality-ca4707924552

    Darwinian Materialism vs Quantum Biology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHdD2Am1g5Y

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    Besides providing direct empirical falsification of Landauer’s claim, and neo-Darwinian claims in general, claims that say immaterial information does not exist apart from its representation on a physical medium, the implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every DNA and protein molecule, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, or course, being the fact that we now have very strong physical evidence directly implying that we do indeed have an eternal soul that lives beyond the death of our material bodies.
    In the following video Stuart Hameroff states ‘it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=300

    Verses and Music:

    Mark 8:37
    “Is anything worth more than your soul?”

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

    Casting Crowns – The Word is Alive (Lyrics)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnh4V7fcnZ0

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