March 26, 2017

Life finds a way: Ancient fossils dating back 4.2bn years prove that life thrived on Earth much earlier than previously thought, and may also hint at living organisms in Mars’ distant past

Life finds a way, mathematician Ian Malcolm utters in Jurassic Park.

Though a scientific fantasy, the film -based on a bestselling novel by Michael Crichton- did postulate on the dangers of genetic tinkering, and how such transgression may endanger our very survival.

But life does indeed find a way, no matter how adverse the environmental conditions might be, as recently found fossils seem to prove.

The fossils, dating back 4.2 billion years, are the oldest ever found on Planet Earth, and show that life thrived even back then, when our planet was little more than a swirling cauldron of magma.

These fossilized organisms were found inside rock formations in Quebec, Canada, and have shocked scientists as they date back hundreds of millions of years earlier than the lifeforms known thus far.

A research team from University College London, partly funded by NASA, made the fascinating discovery.

They released a statement saying “Early Mars and early Earth are very similar places, so we may expect to find life on both planets at this time”.

“We know that life managed to get a foothold and evolve rapidly on Earth. So if we have life evolving in hydrothermal vent systems maybe even 4.2 billion years ago when both planets had liquid water on their surface, then we would expect both planets to develop early life.

“If we do future sample returns from Mars and look at similarly old rocks and we don’t find evidence of life then this certainly may point to the fact that Earth might have been a very special exception, and life may just have arisen on Earth.”

The evidence seems to point out that these organisms may prove that life once existed on Mars. Though a dead planet now, it is thought that Mars once had an atmosphere and contained vast oceans, both conditions favorable for life to thrive.

The next step would be to search for similar fossils around Mars, to prove beyond doubt that alien life does -or at least, did- exist in the distant past. Such endeavor however, may prove a challenging undertaking.

But if such evidence were to be found, it would potentially suggest that life on Earth actually originated in Mars, or elsewhere in the Universe, and that the building blocks were deposited here by comets or other celestial bodies.

We may all be from Mars, after all.

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