A Quebec researcher claims to have found the oldest traces of terrestrial life

Researchers describe structures that could be microbial fossils in rocks about 4 billion years old.

“There are a lot of ultra-skeptical researchers in the community and I know I’m not going to convince everyone, but I think we’ve accumulated enough serious evidence to support what we’re saying”explains Dominic Papineau, first author of a publication published this month in the journal Science Advances . His potentially controversial discovery? With British, American and Chinese colleagues, he explains that he found microfossils in rocks in Quebec that could be the oldest traces of life ever seen on Earth. Even more surprisingly, these fossils would be varied, with the coexistence of very different forms in the same rock sample. It could be the remains of bacteria dating back as far as 4.28 billion years, very shortly after the formation of our planet, 4.5 billion years ago. The oldest traces of life currently accepted by the majority of specialists date from around 3.5 billion…

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