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Earliest evidence of life on Earth found in Canada


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Friday, September 29, 2017, 8:22 PM - New geological evidence suggests the first life forms on Earth may have developed even earlier than recent finds have suggested.

Scientists at the University of Tokyo found evidence of prehistoric life in rocks dating back 3.95 billion years, some 500 million years after the planet first formed. The samples were found in northern Labrador, and the findings were recently published in the journal Nature.

The new findings beat out previous findings in Greenland and northern Quebec that suggested the earliest-known life forms dated back 3.7 billion years, give or take.

The rocks were found in a very remote area, and CBC News reports the researchers had to be accompanied by bear monitors from Parks Canada. 

RELATED VIDEO: Two-billion-year-old water found in Canada



The researchers didn't find fossils, per se. Rather, they found indirect evidence after analyzing traces of graphite, a carbon compound, and finding signs of decomposed living matter.

Tsuyoshi Komiya told Reuters the life forms were probably bacteria, likely inhabiting an ocean.

The half a continent that Canada occupies has been a playground for geologists in search of clues about prehistoric Earth, with plenty of world-beating firsts.

Earlier this year, scientists announced evidence of the hottest-known temperature ever recorded at Earth's surface in a rock found by chance in Labrador. Late in 2016, researchers announced they'd found the oldest-known water on Earth in a mine in Timmins, Ont. Traces of the Earth's crust from 4.3 billion years ago have also been uncovered in the Canadian Shield.

SOURCES: Nature | CBC News | Reuters

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