The earliest evidence of life on Earth found in South Africa are the remains of the germs age of about 3,22 billion years. They are approximately 500 million years older than previous record holder.
According to scientists, life began on our planet about 3.8 billion years ago, but existed only in the oceans, which was almost completely covered with Earth. Many geologists have assumed that in that era emerged and terrestrial forms of living organisms, but the evidence until recent time, reports mir24.tv.
The expert group headed by Marin Homann from the European Institute of marine research found fossilized microbes on a rocky cliff in the mountains of the Barberton-Makhonjwa in the Eastern part of South Africa. There are some of the oldest geological sites in the world. The fossils were part of the cliff called Moodies Group ancient coastline.
According to scientists, microbes are very well preserved. Apparently, several billion years ago in the area was the river.
“It is, in fact, the oldest river channel Land. And it already contained a life,” said study co-author Stefan Lalonde.
Often researchers are able to detect only traces of germs – for example, they have created a fossilized structure. But in this case, their hands fell the remains of the microbes themselves.
Over time a layer of living organisms was covered with sediment, then this design grew another layer of microbes, and so on. This “pie” could without much loss to endure numerous era. In layered fossils scientists have even managed to find organic compounds – carbon atoms and nitrogen, which was part of ancient organisms.
The analysis showed that the microbes consume nitrate (a nitrogen atom connected with three oxygen atoms). This kind of metabolism was most effective for Archaean age (4 to 2.4 billion years ago), when the atmosphere was not yet saturated with oxygen, and allowed to obtain a lot of energy.
Scientists interpreted the finding as evidence that even in ancient times the continents on Earth was already formed and even filled with life.