Tagged With origin of life

Two years ago, researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia shook the science world by claiming to have discovered 3.7 billion-year-old fossils in a rock formation in Greenland, a finding that pushed back the origin of life on Earth by 200 million years. New research is now casting doubt on this discovery, with scientists saying the rock structures are of non-biological origin.

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.