Re the ancient Dresser Formation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, from ScienceDaily:
The stromatolites have been thought to be of biogenic origin ever since they were discovered in the 1980s. However, despite strong textural evidence, that theory was unproven for nearly four decades, because scientists hadn’t been able to show the definitive presence of preserved organic matter remains — until today’s publication in journal Geology.
“This is an exciting discovery — for the first time, we’re able to show the world that these stromatolites are definitive evidence for the earliest life on Earth,” says lead researcher Dr Raphael Baumgartner, a research associate of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology in Professor Martin Van Kranendonk’s team at UNSW.
Professor Van Kranendonk says the discovery is the closest the team have come to a “smoking gun” to prove the existence of such ancient life.
“This represents a major advance in our knowledge of these rocks, in the science of early life investigations generally, and — more specifically — in the search for life on Mars. We now have a new target and new methodology to search for ancient life traces,” Professor Van Kranendonk says.Paper. (paywall) – Raphael J. Baumgartner, Martin J. Van Kranendonk, David Wacey, Marco L Fiorentini, Martin Saunders, Stefano Caruso, Anais Pages, Martin Homann, Paul Guagliardo. Nano−porous pyrite and organic matter in 3.5-billion-year-oldstromatolites record primordial life. Geology, 2019; DOI: 10.1130/G46365.1 More.
This doesn’t leave a lot of time for Darwinian evolution (natural selection acting on random mutation). Not nearly enough, in fact.
A bit of history (life to non-life, then back to life):
Researchers Suggest Life Began On Land Not Sea. And Nearly 600 Mya Earlier Than Thought (2017)
World’s “Oldest Microfossils” Are Not Life Forms After All (2015)
Microbial Mats Show Fossil Structures From 3.5 Billion Years Ago (2014)
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