World’s Oldest Fossils Now Appear to Be Squished Rocks

Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog.

Two years ago, scientists announced that they had found evidence of life in 3.7-billion-year-old rocks, suggesting that life arose on Earth extremely quickly. A new analysis of rocks from the same location calls that conclusion into doubt.Photograph by Abigail Allwood

n August 2016, a research team  to have unearthed evidence of life in a remote outcrop of 3.7-billion-year-old rocks in Greenland. This bold claim not only pushed back the origin of life by at least 220 million years, it also added to a growing body of evidence that challenged the standard story of Earth’s violent beginning, as  reported this year in “.” Joining a series of ancient fossil finds—as well as geological evidence from Earth and the moon—the Greenland discovery added weight to the idea that Earth was warm and

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