четверг, 7 апреля 2016 г.

Scientists discovered the world's oldest fossils - and they date back 3.7 billion years

Scientists discovered the world's oldest fossils - and they date back 3.7 billion years
Scientists discovered the world's oldest fossils - and they date back 3.7 billion years

University of Wollongong, life on earth, earth, fossils, fossil record, age of life on earth, microorganisms, greenland, metamorphic rocks, stromatolites

Ironically enough, the discovery was only possible due to global warming. The ongoing melting of Greenland’s perennial snow and ice gave geologists a look into some of the oldest rocks on Earth, preserved throughout the ages by the cold. Generally, these types of metamorphic rocks are simply too weathered by the elements to reveal any clues about their geologic past.


These particular rocks contain formations known as stromatolites – a sedimentary formation created by the layered growth of microorganisms. In other words: these rocks are the fossils of millions of years of bacteria-like organisms living, growing, and dying. By analyzing the rocks, scientists have been able to piece together knowledge about the environment in which these ancient organisms lived: it was likely warm, in shallow water – a surprisingly hospitable environment considering that the Earth was bombarded with asteroids and the eruptions of super-volcanos at the time.


University of Wollongong, life on earth, earth, fossils, fossil record, age of life on earth, microorganisms, greenland, metamorphic rocks, stromatolites
Related: Scientists discover microorganism that hasn’t evolved for over 2 billion years

This new research strengthens the evidence that life on our planet emerged over 4 billion years ago, perhaps only 540 millions years after the Earth itself was formed. The study has been published in the journal Nature.


Via Gizmodo


Images via University of Wollongong


Original article and pictures take http://inhabitat.com/scientists-just-discovered-the-worlds-oldest-fossils-and-they-date-back-3-7-billion-years/ site


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