First Life Ever on Land: 3.48 Billion Years Ago
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Fossils discovered by The University of New South Wales (UNSW) scientists in 3.48 billion-year-old hot spring deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have pushed back by 580 million years the earliest known existence of microbial life on land.
Previously, the world's oldest evidence for microbial life on land came from 2.7- 2.9 billion-year-old deposits in South Africa containing organic matter-rich ancient soils.
"Our exciting findings don't just extend back the record of life living in hot springs by 3 billion years, they indicate that life was inhabiting the land much earlier than previously thought, by up to about 580 million years," said study first author, UNSW PhD candidate, Tara Djokic.
"This may have implications for an origin of life in freshwater hot springs on land, rather than the more widely discussed idea that life developed in the ocean and adapted to land later."
"Our research also has major implications for the search for life on Mars, because the red planet has ancient hot spring deposits of a similar age to the Dresser Formation in the Pilbara,” she noted.
The study by researchers of UNSW Sydney and the University of Auckland is published in the journal Nature Communications.