Tagged With origin of life

Our planet popped into existence some 4.5 billion years ago. Life didn't waste time, emerging shortly thereafter - but the exact timing of this momentous event is still unknown. A study published today offers new clues into this enduring scientific mystery by claiming to have discovered Earth's oldest fossils in 3.5 billion-year-old Australian rock. Sounds like an important result, but other scientists are disputing the claim.

An international team of researchers say they have found fossils dating back to at least 3.77 billion years ago, making them the oldest fossils ever found on our planet. The discovery, though sure to attract scrutiny, has implications for our understanding of how life got started on Earth -- and how it may have emerged elsewhere.

Since the 1960s, the Drake Equation has been used to predict how many communicative extraterrestrial civilisations exist in the Milky Way galaxy. Along these same lines, a new formula seeks to estimate the frequency at which life emerges on a planet -- a calculation that might allow us to figure out the likelihood of life arising elsewhere in the universe.