Researchers have discovered microbial remains in rocks of 3.5 billion years in Western Australia, the remnants of which may be the earliest signs of life on the planet and a find considered "smoking smoke".
Scientists at the University of New South Wales discovered at 3.5 billion years old stromatolites, ancient sedimentary rocks that are commonly thought to contain the earliest signs of life, a theory now proven.
"This is an exciting discovery – for the first time we have been able to show the world that these stromatolites are definitive proof of the earliest life on Earth," said lead author of the study, Dr. Rafael Baumgartner.
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"This represents a major advance in our knowledge of these rocks, in the science of early life studies in general, and in particular in the search for life on Mars," Prof. Martin van Cranendock said in a statement. "We now have a new purpose and a new methodology for finding ancient clues."
The studies were published in the scientific journal "Geology".
Baumgartner and other researchers drill into the rock to sample and examine.
He discovered that stromatolites were essentially composed of pyrite, often known as "stupid gold," along with organic matter.
"The organic matter we found stored in the pyrite of the stromatolites is exciting – we look at the extremely conserved coherent filaments and filaments, which are usually remnants of microbial biofilms," Baumgartner adds.
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In addition to the way of providing, they can also provide clues as to whether and where Mars originated or existed, researchers say.
"Understanding where life can come from is really important for us to understand our origins," notes Baumgartner. "From there, it could help us understand where life might come from – for example, where it started on other planets."
"It is deeply satisfying that Australia's ancient rocks and our scientific know-how have made such a significant contribution to our searching for extraterrestrial life and unlocking the mysteries of Mars, "van Cranedonk said.
A study published earlier this year suggested that the building blocks for life on Earth came from a galactic collision with another Mars – an object of size before more than 4 billion years.
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