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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Life existed on Earth 300mn years earlier than previously thought - new findings

Comment: And that's probably a conservative estimate...



Scientists believe that life may have existed 300 million years earlier on Earth than previously thought. They analyzed data from tiny pieces of a mineral in Australia and managed to date them back to when the planet was just 400 million years old.
The researchers were looking at pieces of the mineral zircon, in Western Australia. After taking the samples back to the lab, they found a ‘chemo-fossil’ or a certain mix of carbon isotopes, a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stated.

Think of it as "the gooey remains of biotic life or anything more complicated," said study co-author Mark Harrison, a UCLA geochemistry professor, as cited by AP.

They were able to determine this because carbon has different weights. The carbon residue in the pieces of zircon had a greater percentage of lighter carbon, which scientists usually manage to find in remnants of life, just as if your finger decayed, Harrison said.

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