Oldest fossils on Earth discovered in 3.7bn-year-old Greenland rocks

Sep 3, 2016

By Nicola Davis

Scientists have discovered the oldest physical evidence for life on the planet in the form of fossils in Greenland rocks that formed 3.7bn years ago.

The researchers believe the structures in the rocks are stromatolites – layered formations, produced by the activity of microbes, that can be found today in extremely saline lagoons in a few locations around the world.

The new fossils are 220 million years older than any previously discovered.

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2 comments on “Oldest fossils on Earth discovered in 3.7bn-year-old Greenland rocks

  • Science needs to make the most of the few remaining areas of the very oldest surviving rocks on Earth, which have not been recycled by subduction at plate edges or weathered away by the elements.

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  • Discoveries like this hint at life or proto-life originating elsewhere in the universe (panspermia) rather than on Earth and if that’s the case then there is the possibility of life existing on other planets too.

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