Scientists Find Fossil Evidence Of Oldest Life On Earth

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Scientists Find Fossil Evidence Of Oldest Life On Earth

 

Scientists claim bacteria fossils discovered in Port Hedland are more than 3.4 billion years old

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 AUSTRALIA-PALEONTOLOGY-MICROFOSSILS

A 3D image of the 3.4 billion-year-old microfossil found in Western Australia. Picture: AFP / David Wacey and Derek Gertsmann.

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AUSTRALIA-PALEONTOLOGY-MICROFOSSILS

Strelley Pool in Pilbara region of Western Australia where the fossils were found. Picture: AFP / David Wacey

SCIENTISTS in Western Australia have uncovered fossils which they say are the oldest evidence of life on earth.

A team of researchers from the University of WA and Britain's Oxford University say they have proof that the microscopic fossils, found at Strelley Pool near Port Hedland, are more than 3.4 billion years old.

The sulphur-based bacteria was found well preserved between quartz sand grains in prehistoric sedimentary rocks, Oxford University's Professor Martin Brasier said.

"We can be very sure about the age (of the fossils) as the rocks were formed between two volcanic successions that narrow the possible age down to a few tens of millions of years," he said in a statement.

The fossils are very clearly preserved, showing precise cell-like structures all of a similar size, the research team said.

 

 

 

 

"At last we have good solid evidence for life over 3.4 billion years ago. It confirms there were bacteria at this time, living without oxygen," Prof Brasier said.

"Such bacteria are still common today. Sulphur bacteria are found in smelly ditches, soil, hot springs, hydrothermal vents — anywhere where there's little free oxygen and they can live off organic matter."

In recent years new scientific benchmarks have been introduced that must be satisfied by researchers before claims can be made about the age of fossils.

The West Australian fossils pass crucial tests including that the forms seen in the rocks are biological and have not occurred through some mineralisation process, Prof Brasier said.

"We're now making detailed comparisons with all other early microfossils, and we're very optimistic for future finds," he said.

"The work also has implications for looking for life on other planets, giving an indication of what evidence for such life might look like."



Read more: http://www.news.com.au/technology/sci-tech/scientists-claim-fossils-discovered-in-port-headland-are-over-34-billion-years-old/story-fn5fsgyc-1226119426081#ixzz1ViEyh1DO

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


cj
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What fun.Is all of Western

What fun.

Is all of Western Australia that barren?

 


Atheistextremist
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Hey cj

cj wrote:

What fun.

Is all of Western Australia that barren?

 

 

continental Australia grew from west to east and the western gneiss terrane around Port Hedland includes some of the oldest bits of earth crust - it's old and dry. We are moving north at 7cm per year making most parts of the country drier as we  go. That area is geologically stable and not subject to extreme fluvial processes - that keeps the early crust intact.  

I'm on the east coast and it's greener here. But the impression you get from those images is indicative. Australia is big, dry and hard. Head west from Sydney or Brisbane and once over the Great Dividing Range you are quickly into areas that become progressively more barren over the 4000 kilometres between east and west coasts. The dry is relentless. 

There are areas far harsher than Port Hedland. I've done a motorcycle trip around Australia and the primary impact of the journey was the immensity of the nothing. It's not like the Mojave or the Sinai. It's on a continental scale. I went to South Australia recently and driving from Sydney to Adelaide via Broken Hill, was instructive. After Wilcannia the country was forbidding. Head north into the Simpson Desert and it gets lunar. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Simpson-Desert-2007-12-16-NASA.jpg

 

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

continental Australia grew from west to east and the western gneiss terrane around Port Hedland includes some of the oldest bits of earth crust - it's old and dry. We are moving north at 7cm per year making most parts of the country drier as we  go. That area is geologically stable and not subject to extreme fluvial processes - that keeps the early crust intact.  

I'm on the east coast and it's greener here. But the impression you get from those images is indicative. Australia is big, dry and hard. Head west from Sydney or Brisbane and once over the Great Dividing Range you are quickly into areas that become progressively more barren over the 4000 kilometres between east and west coasts. The dry is relentless. 

There are areas far harsher than Port Hedland. I've done a motorcycle trip around Australia and the primary impact of the journey was the immensity of the nothing. It's not like the Mojave or the Sinai. It's on a continental scale. I went to South Australia recently and driving from Sydney to Adelaide via Broken Hill, was instructive. After Wilcannia the country was forbidding. Head north into the Simpson Desert and it gets lunar. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Simpson-Desert-2007-12-16-NASA.jpg

 

Okay, I lived in Salina, Kansas for a year.  I know about flat.

 

And this is the Badlands in North Dakota.

 

 

Though the US geologically does not have older strata so conveniently close to the surface.  The oldest rocks in North America are in the Canadian Shield around Hudson Bay.  But even that is only 2.6 to 1.6 billion years old from when the continent first formed.

The expression in the Midwestern US is that there is only a barbed wire fence between the Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian border, and two strands of it are down.  Living in Salina (Sah-lai'-nah, not pronounced like Salinas - Sah-lee'-nahs - CA), you really had a sense of that barbed wire fence being down.  The wind blows south-south-west almost constantly.

 

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