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3.77-billion-year-old fossils – Earliest evidence of life on earth evokes skepticism

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London: The life on earth probably began hundreds of millions of years earlier than previously thought. A latest research conducted by scientists associated with University College London claims that they have discovered fossils that date back some 3.77 billion years ago.

Scientists claim that miniscule, tubular structures uncovered in ancient Canadian rocks suggest that life on earth began almost as soon as the planet Earth came into existence.

These fossils are miniscule, even narrower than the human hair. The researchers claim that these fossils are not visible to normal human eyes. They add that these fossils are at least 3.77 billion old, though these can be much older.

evidence of life

However, the claims cannot be taken on the face value, given the fact that rocks as old as the ones in the new study rarely survive the weathering, erosion, subduction and deformation of our geologically active Earth. Therefore, it is always very hard –many claim it to be impossible to prove – in the rocks that do survive for such a long time.

As soon as the scientists published their research, other researchers in the field expressed skepticism about whether the structures were really fossils. They also expressed apprehensions if the rocks there were really as old as scientists claim them to be.

Meanwhile, the lead researcher, Matthew Dodd, said that the latest discovery completely changes the concept of beginning of the life on Earth. BBC quoted him as saying, “This discovery answers the biggest questions mankind has asked itself – which are: where do we come from and why we are here…It is very humbling to have the oldest known lifeforms in your hands and being able to look at them and analyse them”.

Scientists, while detailing the findings claim that the fossil structures were found in quartz layers in Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt (NSB) that is a chunk of ancient ocean floor. It contains some of the oldest volcanic and sedimentary rocks known to science. But the scientists should be ready to face skepticism and questions as doubt are natural to be raised regarding such claims.

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