22:05 GMT +323 October 2019
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    New Study Extends Possible Record of Life by 150 Million Years

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    Traces of life were found in Greenland and were believed to date back 3.8 billion years, but now this has changed, Yuji Sano, a professor of Geochemistry at the University of Tokyo and one of the authors of a new research paper, said in an interview with Radio Sputnik.

    Researchers from Japan have discovered potential traces of the first life forms on Earth in rocks in Canada. In their analysis of graphite particles, scientists found remnants of organisms that date back, as they believe, more than 4 billion years.

    "Observed carbon isotopes suggest that carbonate fixation occurred approximately four gigayears ago," Sano said. "This extended the record of life by 150 million years," he added.

    If the new findings prove true, it will mean that life on Earth appeared at a time when the planet was being battered by asteroids and comets remaining from the formation of the solar system.

    This suggestion prompts new theories about how living organisms managed to survive severe environment conditions as previously it had been considered that no organisms could have emerged during that period because the meteorites would have destroyed them.

    One of the key points here is the debate among scientists whether life originated in shallow waters or in the deep ocean, Matthew Dodd, a PhD student and geochemist at University College London, told Radio Sputnik.

    According to him, the latest theory would better explain how living organisms escaped the harmful impact of meteorites and other environmental factors.

    "It is actually very interesting to know whether life originated in the deep or shallow water environment because in the shallow water environment they [living organisms] would be most affected by these meteorite impacts, which would have turned up and obliterated a lot of the surface environment. So, therefore a lot of scientists like to think that life originated in a much deeper water environment where it would be more shielded from harmful rays from the sun as well as meteorite impacts," Dodd told Radio Sputnik.

    According to Dodd, the new research is breakthrough in terms of discovering potential traces of the first life forms on Earth.

    "It pushes back the date to when we think life originated on Earth to around 4 billion years ago and this is a period in the solar system history which was very chaotic with frequent bombardment from meteorites. It really gives testament about the conditions [in which] life could have originated and evolved under," Dodd said.

    Related:

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    Juno Spacecraft Approaching Jupiter to Explore Origins of Life on Earth
    New Evidence Reveals Asteroids May Have Brought Life to Earth
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