Analysis of rocks taken in South Africa shows that microbes of microbial life formed around water heat holes 3.42 billion years ago. This discovery will help us to understand how life first appeared on earth. This may have implications for the exobiology in the search for organisms in the solar system.
The development of life occurs in stages, in which a structured state, the intermediate between inanimate and living, gradually emerges. But where did this change take place? This question has long been the subject of debate in biology. Did life originate in a warm little pool? Or the sea floor around a water heat vent? An article was published Scientific progress The question is not answered, but invites us to lean on the second option.
3.42 billion year old microbes
As part of the final task, a committee headed by a professor. Barbara Cavalasi of the University of Bologna found that micro-fossils prove the existence of life around water-heated vents. 3.42 billion years. Remains of this life were isolated from rocks taken from the Barburton Green Rock Belt in South Africa.
“We found evidence of well-preserved fossil microorganisms that thrive in the walls of pits created by hot water from a liquid heating system several meters below the sea.”, The analyst notes in a press release. “Underground habitat heated by volcanic activity may have held some of the earliest microbial ecosystems on Earth, the oldest example we have found to date.”.
Because the microfossil fibers found in South Africa are well preserved, the researchers were able to identify a carbon-rich cell wall and a clear embryo. The high concentration of nickel isolated in these fossils also indicates it Prokaryotic archeology, Today’s lifestyles thrive in anoxic (oxygen-free) environments On methane To stimulate their metabolism.
Like these fossils, we know that life on earth may be even older. Molecular clocks show that they actually formed at least four billion years ago. Archeology The oldest ever discovered They are 3.77 billion years old (although controversial in Greenland).
This study may also have implications for the field of exobiology, which may increase the chances of extraterrestrial life. Our eyes turn back then Europe (Thursday) and Enselate (Saturn), two icy moons that can support the action of water heat on its submarine surface.