by Charles Q. Choi
Life may have emerged on Earth 4.1 billion years ago, much earlier than scientists had thought, and relatively soon after the planet formed, researchers say.
Previous research suggested life may have arisen on Earth 3.83 billion years ago. The new findings suggest life started 270 million years earlier, and only about 440 million years after Earth formedabout 4.54 billion years ago.
If life on Earth did spring up relatively quickly, that suggests life could be abundant in the universe, scientists added.
“The faster life arises on Earth, the more varied and possibly extreme are the conditions in which it can do so elsewhere and be sustained,” study co-author Mark Harrison, a geochemist at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Live Science. [7 Wild Theories for the Origin of Life on Earth]
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