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Researchers found in a study of microbial remains in the 3.5-billion-year old rocks in Western Australia, and the remains may be the first signs of life on the planet, and find out considered to be a “smoking gun.”
The scientists from the University of New South Wales, discovered the 3.5-billion-year old stromatolites, ancient sedimentary rocks, which are generally believed to contain the earliest traces of life, a theory that has been proven to be.
“This is an exciting discovery, for the first time, we can show the world that these stromatolites were the definitive evidence of the earliest life on Earth,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Angela Baumgartner, said in a statement.
Photomicrograph of pyrite fossilized stromatolites from 3.5 billion year old Dresser Formation. The stromatolites are clearly defined by pyrite also known as fool’s gold. (Credit: UNSW in Sydney)
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The stromatolites that have been found in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the researchers, the closest option is to find a “smoking gun” to prove the existence of life, is that of the old one.
“This has been a great advance in our knowledge of these rocks, and in the knowledge of the early life of the survey, in general, and more specifically, in the search for life on Mars,” Prof. dr Martin van Kranendonk, said in a statement. “We now have a new goal and a new approach to the search for life traces.”
The study has been published in the scientific journal Geology.
Baumgartner and the other, the researchers drilled into the rock to collect samples and examined them using a range of cutting-edge tools and technologies, including high-power electron microscopy, spectroscopy, and isotope analysis.
He found that the stromatolites are mainly composed of pyrite, commonly known as “fool’s gold,” taken together with the organic matter.
“The organic matter, which we have found to be retained within the pyrite of the stromatolites, it is exciting that we are on the lookout for exceptionally-preserved, cohesive threads or strands which are typically of microbial biofilms,” Baumgartner added.
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In addition to providing clues to how life arose on Earth, there can be hints as to the question of whether it is formed or existed, on Mars, the researchers said.
“It is the understanding of where life could have originated, it is really important for us to understand that our ancestors, the” Baumgartner noted. “From there, it can help us to understand what otherwise would have occurred, for example, which is in the centre of the other planets.”
“It’s very rewarding to Australia’s ancient rocks, and as our scientific knowledge of it is to make a significant contribution to the search for extra-terrestrial life, and unlock the mysteries of Mars,” said van Kranendonk.
A study published earlier this year found that the building blocks of life on Earth from a galactic collision with another Mars-sized object that has more than 4 billion years ago.
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