Earlier today, we noted that some researchers think that purple planets are a better bet for alien life forms because such life forms have been around for three billion years. Well, get this:
Scientists have discovered possibly the earliest signs of life on Earth– remains of bacteria that are almost three-and-a-half billion years old – in a remote region of north-west Australia.
Evidence of the complex microbial ecosystem was found in sedimentary rocks in the remote Pilbara region in Western Australia, an area which contains some of the world’s oldest rock formations.
The researchers found evidence of “large clusters, or mats” of the bacteria, including tangled filaments and organic material from decomposed microorganisms. This seems clearer evidence than the Greenland find which, if valid, is even older (3.8 billion years old), but see this first.
Researcher David Wacey from the University of Western Australia hopes the team’s work will help with locating life on other planets, and also, but it is not clear how at present, because we would need to retrieve samples, and also notes “Ultimately, we are looking for when that soup of chemicals became something that could be called life.”
Dunno about that “ultimate,” but the general pattern is, those dates they just keep a-rolling on back.
Hat tip: Bioethics.com