Oldest fossils ever found show life on Earth began before 3.5 billion years ago
Science Daily ^ | 18 Dec 17 | University of Wisconsin-Madison Researchers
Posted on 12/19/2017 3:14:12 AM PST by SkyPilot
Researchers at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have confirmed that microscopic fossils discovered in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old piece of rock in Western Australia are the oldest fossils ever found and indeed the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth.
An example of one of the microfossils discovered in a sample of rock recovered from the Apex Chert, a rock formation in western Australia that is among the oldest and best-preserved rock deposits in the world. The fossils were first described in 1993 but a 2017 study published by UCLA and UW-Madison scientists used sophisticated chemical analysis to confirm the microscopic structures found in the rock are indeed biological, rendering them — at 3.5 billion years — the oldest fossils yet found.
The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was led by J. William Schopf, professor of paleobiology at UCLA, and John W. Valley, professor of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The research relied on new technology and scientific expertise developed by researchers in the UW-Madison WiscSIMS Laboratory.
The study describes 11 microbial specimens from five separate taxa, linking their morphologies to chemical signatures that are characteristic of life. Some represent now-extinct bacteria and microbes from a domain of life called Archaea, while others are similar to microbial species still found today. The findings also suggest how each may have survived on an oxygen-free planet.
The microfossils — so called because they are not evident to the naked eye — were first described in the journal Science in 1993 by Schopf and his team, which identified them based largely on the fossils’ unique, cylindrical and filamentous shapes. Schopf, director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life…
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com …
That phrase always bothers me – reminds me of the “Climate Change” gurus.
Using a secondary ion mass spectrometer (SIMS) at UW-Madison called IMS 1280 — one of just a handful of such instruments in the world — Valley and his team, including department geoscientists Kouki Kitajima and Michael Spicuzza, were able to separate the carbon composing each fossil into its constituent isotopes and measure their ratios.
Any geologists or other scientists out there? How are these scientists convinced that the rocks themselves are billions of years old? Using Isotopes? How?
This piece certainly leaves some questions regarding the age of the earth:
Info for the thread: this article appears on Drudge’s page today.
To: Fred Nerks
Oz Rocks Ping!
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