Scientists have discovered microbial remains in rocks 3.5 billion years old, showing some of the earliest signs of life on the planet. Organic matter was discovered in stromatolites, the oldest fossils on Earth, in the Pilbara area of Western Australia, scientists at the University of New South Wales said on Thursday.
Although stromatolites were discovered in the 1
"For the first time, we are able to show to the world that these stromatolites are definitive proof of the earliest life on Earth," said lead researcher Rafael Baumgartner.
To study rock scientists took samples from basic samples that would not be weathered. They examined the samples using powerful electron microscopy, spectroscopy and isotope analysis. Baumgartner discovers that stromatolites are made of pyrite, which contains "extremely conserved" organic matter.
The stromatolites found in Dressage Form are not only clues as to how life was formed, but also where life on Mars might exist.
"Understanding where life can come from is really important to understanding our ancestry," Baumgartner said. "From there, it could help us understand where life might happen – for example, where it started on other planets."
The scientists who run Mars 2020 missions at NASA and the European Space Agency have a study of rocks this week in Pilbara.
"The ancient rocks of Australia and our scientific know-how contribute so much to our quest for extraterrestrial life and the unlocking of the mysteries of Mars," added Martin Van Cranedonk, a professor at the University of New South Wales.  The results are published in Geology.