Intelligent Design News Origin Of Life

Researchers: Oxygen-producing life forms 60 mya earlier than thought

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study site landscape/Quentin Crowley

But in the context of billions of years, how much difference does 60 million years make? 😉

From ScienceDaily:

Biologists from Trinity College Dublin have rewritten the evolutionary history books by finding that oxygen-producing life forms were present on Earth some 3 billion years ago — a full 60 million years earlier than previously thought. These life forms were responsible for adding oxygen (O2) to our atmosphere, which laid the foundations for more complex life to evolve and proliferate.

There was virtually no atmospheric O2 present 3.4 billion years ago, but recent work from South African paleosols suggested that by about 2.96 billion years ago O2 levels may have begun to increase. Professor Crowley’s finding therefore moves the goalposts back at least 60 million years, which, given humans have only been on the planet for around a tenth of that time, is not an insignificant drop in the evolutionary ocean.

See also: Is there a good reason to believe that life’s origin must be a fully natural event?

and

Does nature just “naturally” produce life?

Here’s the abstract:

It is widely believed that atmospheric oxygen saturation rose from <10–5 present atmospheric level (PAL) in the Archean to >10–2 PAL at the Great Oxidation Event (GOE) at ca. 2.4 Ga, but it is unclear if any earlier oxygenation events occurred. Here we report U-Pb zircon data indicating that a pyrophyllite-bearing paleosol, from Keonjhar in the Precambrian Singhbhum Craton of eastern India, formed between 3.29 and 3.02 Ga, making it one of very few known Archean paleosols globally. Field and geochemical evidence suggests that the upper part of the paleosol was eroded prior to unconformable deposition of an overlying sequence of shallow-marine siliciclastic sediments. A negative cerium anomaly within the currently preserved level of the paleosol indicates that ancient oxidative weathering occurred in the original upper soil profile. The presence of redox-sensitive detrital uraninite and pyrite together with a complete absence of pyrophyllite in the overlying sediments indicate that the mineralogical and geochemical features of the paleosol were established prior to the unconformable deposition of the sediments and are not related to subsequent diagenetic or hydrothermal effects. We suggest that a transient atmospheric oxygenation event occurred at least 600 m.y. prior to the GOE and ~60 m.y. prior to a previously documented Archean oxygenation event. We propose that several pulsed and short-lived oxygenation events are likely to have occurred prior to the GOE, and that these changes to atmospheric composition arose due to the presence of organisms capable of oxygenic photosynthesis. (paywall)

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13 Replies to “Researchers: Oxygen-producing life forms 60 mya earlier than thought

  1. 1
    cantor says:

    60 mya earlier

    “60 million years ago earlier” doesn’t sound quite right.

    should be “60 million years earlier”.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    correction: should 600 million years earlier instead of 60 million years earlier,,,

    Moreover, although there may be no evidence of atmospheric oxygen saturation prior to 3.2 billion years ago, there is good evidence that oxygen producing bacteria were present in the oceans as soon as the oceans appeared on the face of the earth:

    Isotopic Evidence For Life Immediately Following Late Bombardment – Graph
    http://cdn.physorg.com/newman/.....bitofc.jpg

    U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of +3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis (2003)
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004E&PSL.217..237R

    The Sudden Appearance Of Life On Earth – video
    https://vimeo.com/92413648

    When Did Life on Earth Begin? Ask a Rock (3.85 bya)
    http://www.astrobio.net/exclusive/293/

    When did oxygenic photosynthesis evolve? – Roger Buick – 2008
    Excerpt:,, U–Pb data from ca 3.8?Ga metasediments suggest that this metabolism could have arisen by the start of the geological record. Hence, the hypothesis that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved well before the atmosphere became permanently oxygenated seems well supported.
    http://rstb.royalsocietypublis...../2731.long

    When Did Life First Appear on Earth? – Fazale Rana – December 2010
    Excerpt: The primary evidence for 3.8 billion-year-old life consists of carbonaceous deposits, such as graphite, found in rock formations in western Greenland. These deposits display an enrichment of the carbon-12 isotope. Other chemical signatures from these formations that have been interpreted as biological remnants include uranium/thorium fractionation and banded iron formations. Recently, a team from Australia argued that the dolomite in these formations also reflects biological activity, specifically that of sulfate-reducing bacteria.
    http://www.reasons.org/when-di.....pear-earth

    Iron in Primeval Seas Rusted by Bacteria – Apr. 23, 2013
    Excerpt: The oldest known iron ores were deposited in the Precambrian period and are up to four billion years old (the Earth itself is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years old). ,,,
    This research not only provides the first clear evidence that microorganisms were directly involved in the deposition of Earth’s oldest iron formations; it also indicates that large populations of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria were at work in the shallow areas of the ancient oceans, while deeper water still reached by the light (the photic zone) tended to be populated by anoxyenic or micro-aerophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria which formed the iron deposits.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....110750.htm

    Thus we now have fairly good empirical evidence for oxygen producing cyanobacterial life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found by scientists on earth.

    Moreover, there is no evidence prebiotic chemical signatures before that time:

    Dr. Hugh Ross – Origin Of Life Paradox (No prebiotic chemical signatures)- video (40:10 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=UPvO2EkiLls#t=2410

    “We get that evidence from looking at carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis. And it tells us that in Earth’s oldest (sedimentary) rock, which dates at 3.80 billion years ago, we find an abundance for the carbon signature of living systems. Namely, that life prefers carbon 12. And so if you see a higher ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 13 that means that carbon has been processed by life. And it is that kind of evidence that tells us that life has been abundant on earth as far back as 3.80 billion years ago (when water was first present on earth).,,, And that same carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis tells us that planet earth, over it entire 4.5662 billion year history has never had prebiotics. Prebiotics would have a higher ratio of carbon 13 to carbon 12. All the carbonaceous material, we see in the entire geological record of the earth, has the signature of being post-biotic not pre-biotic. Which means planet earth never had a primordial soup. And the origin of life on earth took place in a geological instant” (as soon as it was possible for life to exist on earth).
    – Hugh Ross – quote as stated in preceding video

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:4
    In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
    Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktvTqknDobU

  3. 3
    DavidD says:

    BA77
    “correction: should 600 million years earlier instead of 60 million years earlier,,,”

    They could say “6000 Trillion years earlier” and it still would help plug up the gaos and holes in their religious assumptions

  4. 4
    DavidD says:

    Should have been ‘Gaps’ – what happens when you don’t put glasses on

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    DavidD as to,,,

    “They could say “6000 Trillion years earlier” and it still would NOT help,,,”

    Indeed you are right, as pointed out the other day deep time is the villian, not the hero, of the plot for Darwinists,,,

    Is deep time a miracle worker???
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-513005

    And as is pointed out in the following video, Darwinists, despite their faith in deep time, simply do not have deep time to appeal to anymore.

    Life – Its Sudden Origin and Extreme Complexity – Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    https://vimeo.com/92492805

    As Dr. Rana pointed out, we have good evidence that photosynthetic life appeared on earth as soon as it was possible for it to exist on earth, right after the late heavy bombardment of earth 3.9 billion years ago.
    Having photosynthetic bacteria appear in the oldest sedimentary rocks is, to put it mildly, problematic for Darwinists, since photosynthesis is an extremely complex process.,,, The simplest photosynthetic life on earth is exceedingly complex, too complex to happen by accident even if the primeval oceans had been full of pre-biotic soup.

    Scientists unlock some key secrets of photosynthesis – July 2, 2012
    Excerpt: “Photosystem II is the engine of life,” Lakshmi said. “It performs one of the most energetically demanding reactions known to mankind, splitting water, with remarkable ease and efficiency.”,,, “Water is a very stable molecule and it takes four photons of light to split water,” she said. “This is a challenge for chemists and physicists around the world (to imitate) as the four-photon reaction has very stringent requirements.”
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-s.....hesis.html

    The Miracle Of Photosynthesis – electron transport – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj_WKgnL6MI

    Electron transport and ATP synthesis during photosynthesis – Illustration
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bo.....iggrp.1672

    The 10 Step Glycolysis Pathway In ATP Production: An Overview – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kn6BVGqKd8

    At the 14:00 minute mark of the following video, Chris Ashcraft, PhD – molecular biology, gives us an overview of the Citric Acid Cycle, which is, after the 10 step Glycolysis Pathway, also involved in ATP production:

    Evolution vs ATP Synthase – Chris Ashcraft – video – citric acid cycle at 14:00 minute mark
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rUV4CSs0HzI#t=746

    The Citric Acid Cycle: An Overview – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6vQKrRjQcQ

    The Citric Acid Cycle: The Reactions – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cXVleFtzeE

    Glycolysis and the Citric Acid Cycle: The Control of Proteins and Pathways – Cornelius Hunter – July 2011
    – per Darwin’s God

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    The photosynthetic process is clearly a irreducible complex condition:

    “There is no question about photosynthesis being Irreducibly Complex. But it’s worse than that from an evolutionary perspective. There are 17 enzymes alone involved in the synthesis of chlorophyll. Are we to believe that all intermediates had selective value? Not when some of them form triplet states that have the same effect as free radicals like O2. In addition if chlorophyll evolved before antenna proteins, whose function is to bind chlorophyll, then chlorophyll would be toxic to cells. Yet the binding function explains the selective value of antenna proteins. Why would such proteins evolve prior to chlorophyll? and if they did not, how would cells survive chlorophyll until they did?”
    Uncommon Descent Blogger

    Evolutionary biology: Out of thin air John F. Allen & William Martin:
    The measure of the problem is here: “Oxygenetic photosynthesis involves about 100 proteins that are highly ordered within the photosynthetic membranes of the cell.”
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....5610a.html

    Enzymes and protein complexes needed in photosynthesis – with graphs
    http://elshamah.heavenforum.or.....hesis#2527

    Of related note: anoxygenic (without oxygen) photosynthesis is even more of a complex chemical pathway than oxygenic photosynthesis is:

    “Remarkably, the biosynthetic routes needed to make the key molecular component of anoxygenic photosynthesis are more complex than the pathways that produce the corresponding component required for the oxygenic form.”;
    Early Life Remains Complex By Fazale R. Rana (FACTS for FAITH Issue 7, 2001)

    There is a profound ‘chicken and egg’ dilemma with ATP synthase, which is integral to the photosynthetic process, surrounding the Origin Of Life problem for evolutionists:

    Evolutionist Has Another Honest Moment as “Thorny Questions Remain” – Cornelius Hunter – July 2012
    Excerpt: It’s a chicken and egg question. Scientists are in disagreement over what came first — replication, or metabolism. But there is a third part to the equation — and that is energy. … You need enzymes to make ATP and you need ATP to make enzymes. The question is: where did energy come from before either of these two things existed?
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....oment.html

    ATP synthase, which is integral to the photosynthetic process, is a molecular machine which surpasses man made machines in engineering parameters,

    Gradients (ATP Synthases) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3y1dO4nNaKY

    Miniature Molecular Power Plant: ATP Synthase – January 2013 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI8m6o0gXDY

    ATP: The Perfect Energy Currency for the Cell – Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: In manufacturing terms, the ATP (Synthase) molecule is a machine with a level of organization on the order of a research microscope or a standard television (Darnell, Lodish, and Baltimore, 1996).
    http://www.trueorigin.org/atp.asp

    ATP Synthase, an Energy-Generating Rotary Motor Engine – Jonathan M. May 15, 2013
    Excerpt: ATP synthase has been described as “a splendid molecular machine,” and “one of the most beautiful” of “all enzymes” .,, “bona fide rotary dynamo machine”,,,
    If such a unique and brilliantly engineered nanomachine bears such a strong resemblance to the engineering of manmade hydroelectric generators, and yet so impressively outperforms the best human technology in terms of speed and efficiency, one is led unsurprisingly to the conclusion that such a machine itself is best explained by intelligent design.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....72101.html

    Thermodynamic efficiency and mechanochemical coupling of F1-ATPase – 2011
    Excerpt: F1-ATPase is a nanosized biological energy transducer working as part of FoF1-ATP synthase. Its rotary machinery transduces energy between chemical free energy and mechanical work and plays a central role in the cellular energy transduction by synthesizing most ATP in virtually all organisms.,,
    Our results suggested a 100% free-energy transduction efficiency and a tight mechanochemical coupling of F1-ATPase.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....hort?rss=1
    See also:
    Davies et al., “Macromolecular organization of ATP synthase and complex I in whole mitochondria,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    and:
    Tamás Beke-Somfai, Per Lincoln, and Bengt Nordén, “Double-lock ratchet mechanism revealing the role of [alpha]SER-344 in F0F1 ATP synthase,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, as if that were not enough to give the committed neo-Darwinist nightmares, it is now found that photosynthesis requires a non-local, beyond space and time, cause in order to explain its effect,,,

    Quantum Mechanics at Work in Photosynthesis: Algae Familiar With These Processes for Nearly Two Billion Years – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: “We were astonished to find clear evidence of long-lived quantum mechanical states involved in moving the energy. Our result suggests that the energy of absorbed light resides in two places at once — a quantum superposition state, or coherence — and such a state lies at the heart of quantum mechanical theory.”,,, “It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two billion years before humans,” says Scholes.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....131356.htm

    Quantum Mechanics Explains Efficiency of Photosynthesis – Jan. 9, 2014
    Excerpt: Previous experiments suggest that energy is transferred in a wave-like manner, exploiting quantum phenomena, but crucially, a non-classical explanation could not be conclusively proved as the phenomena identified could equally be described using classical physics.,,,
    Now, a team at UCL have attempted to identify features in these biological systems which can only be predicted by quantum physics, and for which no classical analogues exist.
    ,,,said Alexandra Olaya-Castro (UCL Physics & Astronomy), supervisor and co-author of the research. “We found that the properties of some of the chromophore vibrations that assist energy transfer during photosynthesis can never be described with classical laws, and moreover, this non-classical behaviour enhances the efficiency of the energy transfer.”,,,
    Other biomolecular processes such as the transfer of electrons within macromolecules (like in reaction centres in photosynthetic systems), the structural change of a chromophore upon absorption of photons (like in vision processes) or the recognition of a molecule by another (as in olfaction processes), are influenced by specific vibrational motions. The results of this research therefore suggest that a closer examination of the vibrational dynamics involved in these processes could provide other biological prototypes exploiting truly non-classical phenomena,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....092008.htm

    At the 21:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr Suarez explains why photosynthesis needs a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain its effect:

    Nonlocality of Photosynthesis – Antoine Suarez – video – 2012
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=1268s

    And whereas the materialist/atheist is at a complete loss to explain what that non-local, beyond space and time, cause possibly could be for photosynthesis, the Christian Theist has a ready explanation:

    John 1:1-5
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    It is also interesting to note that life, contrary to Darwinian explanations, remained as single celled organism for much of life’s history on earth. From approx. 3.8 bya to 550 mya,,,

    Cambrian Explosion Ruins Darwin’s Tree of Life (2 minutes in a 24 hour day) – video 1:45 minute mark
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=bQKxkUb_AAg#t=105

    Thus deep time, which Darwinists had originally appealed to as their miracle worker for explaining the origin of life, in fact turns around and bites them since life, once it appeare on earth, failed to evolve into anything more complex than single celled organisms for 3.2 billion years.,,,

    And where Darwinists are at a complete loss to explain why life failed to evolve for 3.2 billion years, Theists have a ready explanation for why it stayed the same with the ‘foresighted’ process of ‘terraforming’:

    The Microbial Engines That Drive Earth’s Biogeochemical Cycles – Falkowski 2008
    Excerpt: Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.
    – Paul G. Falkowski – Professor Geological Sciences – Rutgers
    http://www.genetics.iastate.edu/delong1.pdf

    Dr. Ross points out that the extremely long amount of time it took to prepare a suitable place for humans to exist in this universe, for the relatively short period of time that we can exist on this planet, is actually a point of evidence that argues strongly for Theism:

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.
    http://christiangodblog.blogsp.....chive.html

    As a Christian, I like the metaphor of ‘preparing for a wedding’ that Dr. Ross uses in the following video to illustrate the disparity that ‘The Anthropic Inequality’ presents in terms of time:

    Hugh Ross – The Anthropic Principle and The Anthropic Inequality – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8494065/

    There are more details that could be brought up to buttress the case for terraforming of the early earth to prepare it for humans (M. Denton), but I think the evidence presented thus far is sufficient for now,,,

    Music and Verse:

    Toby Mac (In The Light) – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_MpGRQRrP0

    1 John 1:5
    This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

  8. 8
    Acartia_bogart says:

    BA77: “correction: should 600 million years earlier instead of 60 million years earlier,,,”

    No. This site is 60 million years earlier than the oldest oxygen event found to date. It is 600 million years older than the event that resulted in global atmospheric oxygen.

    This observation isn’t very surprising. These deposits are very rare. The odds of finding the oldest one the first time out of the gate (or the third, or the 30th) are very slim.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    Thanks for the correction AB (my mistake for reading too quickly),,,, but my main point remains,,, fairly good empirical evidence for oxygenic photosynthesis in the oceans goes back to the oldest iron ore formations on earth (circa 4.0 to 3.8 bya),,, photosynthetic bacteria which, though not directly associated in iron ore formation, were none-the-less involved in the overall iron ore formation process,,, as the paper I cited states,,,

    Iron in Primeval Seas Rusted by Bacteria – Apr. 23, 2013
    Excerpt: The oldest known iron ores were deposited in the Precambrian period and are up to four billion years old (the Earth itself is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years old). ,,,
    This research not only provides the first clear evidence that microorganisms were directly involved in the deposition of Earth’s oldest iron formations; it also indicates that large populations of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria were at work in the shallow areas of the ancient oceans, while deeper water still reached by the light (the photic zone) tended to be populated by anoxyenic or micro-aerophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria which formed the iron deposits.,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....110750.htm

    Thus the 3.2 bya figure is either unaware, or ignoring, this previous research.

    There is also a fairly good video on early bacterial life by a MIT geologist on the web,, if you want to look it up.

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    Does this mean that the earth is 6006 years old rather than 6000 years old?

  11. 11
    tkeithlu says:

    Oh, boy, here we go again. Some claim (in this case photosynthesis earlier than previously thought) is immediately claimed to be irreducibly complex and by itself grounds to reject everything we know about evolution. Thus far, further work has shown such examples (eyes, flagella) to be pretty ordinary examples of adaptation of one structure to another use, or explainable in the record by intermediate forms. Such a huge body of knowledge is not going to get dislodged this way. What is needed is positive evidence of supernatural creation, not arguments over small details.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    I’m sure, for those of us who think you are blowing smoke, you will have no problem providing an experimental example of Darwinian processes producing a single ‘pretty ordinary’ example of a eye or flagella in the lab???

  13. 13
    Eric Anderson says:

    tkeithlu:

    Thus far, further work has shown such examples (eyes, flagella) to be pretty ordinary examples of adaptation of one structure to another use, or explainable in the record by intermediate forms. Such a huge body of knowledge is not going to get dislodged this way. What is needed is positive evidence of supernatural creation, not arguments over small details.

    Wow. Lots of misconceptions in one short comment.

    It has most certainly not been shown that eyes and the bacterial flagellum are ordinary examples of adaptation of a structure for another use. That is simply naive and evidences nothing but materialist propaganda.

    Furthermore, intelligent design is not based on anything “supernatural,” so the demand for supernatural creation is misplaced.

    Time to read up a bit before making such off base statements.

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