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Oldest Life on Earth: Canada Discovery is Almost 4 Billion Years Old

Oldest Life on Earth: Canada Discovery is Almost 4 Billion Years Old

View from Mount Whistler in the Canadian Rockies. (Debra Law/Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 29 September 2017 09:07 AM

Traces of the oldest life on Earth may have been found in Canada, scientists say.

This evidence was discovered embedded in rock dating back 3.95 billion years, or just 500 million years after Earth was formed, Time noted.

This discovery could help scientists understand early life on the planet as well as the potential for life on other planets.

The scientists, who published their research in the journal Nature on Wednesday, said they had discovered signs of organic life in graphite from sedimentary rocks in Labrador, Canada.

These findings combined with evidence of the existence of "a diverse range of living organisms around 3.7 billion years ago," including stromatolites and bacteria, "shows that life has been around almost as long as there has been a planet that it can call home," according to the report.

Previously, the oldest traces of life were found in graphite dating back 3.7 billion years found in Greenland, and 3.8 billion years in Quebec, according to The HuffPost.

These new findings mean the Labrador granite pre-dates both these ancient traces of life by 150 million years.

Leading researcher Tsuyoshi Komiya, a geologist at the University of Tokyo, told Live Science that these results were "surprising and exciting."

He explained that the graphite was encased by ancient rock, suggesting that the new evidence of life had not been contaminated by organic matter from later time periods.

He added that future research could help scientists identify what types of early organisms might have created the graphite while shedding light on the kind of environment they lived in.

Ultimately, Komiya said, the research could lead scientists to develop a greater understanding of the origin and evolution of life.

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Traces of the oldest life on Earth may have been found in Canada, embedded in rock dating back 3.95 billion years, or just 500 million years after Earth was formed, scientists say.
oldest, life, earth, canada
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2017-07-29
Friday, 29 September 2017 09:07 AM
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