Navigation Links
Early life on Earth may have developed more quickly than thought
Date:11/11/2009

The Earth's climate was far cooler perhaps more than 50 degrees billions of years ago, which could mean conditions for life all over the planet were more conducive than previously believed, according to a research team that includes a Texas A&M University expert who specializes in geobiology.

Mike Tice, a researcher in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Texas A&M, says the findings could change current ideas about the earliest forms of life on Earth. The team includes scientists from Yale University and Stanford University, and their work is published in the current issue of Nature magazine.

Tice says the team examined rocks from the Buck Reef Chert in South Africa that are known to be about 3.4 billion years old, among the oldest ever discovered. They found features in them that are consistent with formation at water temperatures significantly lower than previous studies had suggested.

"Our research shows that the water temperature 3.4 billion years ago was at most 105 degrees, and while that's potentially very warm, it's far below the temperatures of 155 degrees or more that previous research has implied," Tice explains.

The research found that conditions were considerably cooler, probably by 50 degrees or even more. That means that conditions for life were much easier, and that life that did exist at the time was not under as much stress as previously believed.

Tice says the situation could be compared to the geysers currently found in Yellowstone National Park.

The hundreds of hot spring pools in the park vary considerably in temperature, although all of them range from very warm to extremely hot. Water in the pools that is farthest from the center is cooler, and this is shown in the varied colors from pink to light green, orange and dark green colors, he says.

When water temperatures fall to below 163 degrees or so, close to the high temperatures previously hypothesized for the early ocean, communities of green photosynthetic bacteria begin to grow on the pool floor. These communities become thicker as water temperature continues to drop off away from the pool centers.

"There is life even in the hottest water, and microbes there have evolved to grow in those harsh conditions. But there is even more life present in the cooler waters," he notes. "We think this is similar to what conditions might have been like billions of years ago."

Tice says the new findings could open doors for new ways to look at Earth's early history, especially life forms that existed billions of years ago.

"We know life was around that long ago, but these findings show that the very stressful conditions for life to exist may not have been as stressful as we had thought," he notes.

"It means more organisms may have been around that were not necessarily heat-loving ones. The findings could give us a better understanding of how life evolved and maybe give us some clues about the long-term history of Earth's climate and atmosphere."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mike Tice
tice@geo.tamu.edu
979-845-3138
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Stimulus grant of nearly $9 million to UC San Diego funds big study of young brains
2. JCI online early table of contents: Oct. 12, 2009
3. Banded rocks reveal early Earth conditions, changes
4. Early hominid first walked on 2 legs in the woods
5. US needs nearly $200 million more on climate-related health research
6. Early results: In children, 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine works like seasonal flu vaccine
7. Early spring time for Edinburgh? Study predicts effect of global warming on spring flowers
8. New method monitors early sign of oxidative stress in cancer
9. Vitamin C deficiency impairs early brain development
10. New DNA test uses nanotechnology to find early signs of cancer
11. Scientists take early steps toward mapping epigenetic variability
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/15/2016)... New York , March 15, 2016 ... new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Digital Door ... Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2023," the global digital door ... US$ 731.9 Mn in 2014 and is forecast to grow ... 2023. Growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... http://www.apimages.com ) - --> http://www.apimages.com ) - ... Images ( http://www.apimages.com ) - Germany . ... new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be unveiling this device, and ... Hanover next week.   --> Germany ... the new refugee identity cards. DERMALOG will be unveiling this device, ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... NEW YORK , March 9, 2016 ... current and future states of the RNA Sequencing (RNA ... in segments such as instruments, tools and reagents, data ... Analyze various segments of the RNA-Sequencing market such ... RNA-Sequencing services Identify the main factors affecting each segment ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The need for blood donations in South Texas and across the nation is ... & Tissue Center, blood donations are on the decline. In fact, donations across the country ... percent in South Texas in the last four years alone. , There is no substitute ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Ind. , May 23, 2016 Zimmer Biomet ... musculoskeletal healthcare, today announced that its Board of Directors has ... for the second quarter of 2016. The ... or about July 29, 2016 to stockholders of record as ... declarations of dividends are subject to approval of the Board ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... May 23, 2016 - Leading CRO,s Use ... - Frontage Implement a Single Platform to Manage End-to-end Operations ... Within the Bioanalytical lab Frontage Laboratories, a full-service contract ... and China , has selected IDBS, ... In addition to serving as the global electronic lab notebook (ELN), ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... Foresight Institute ... announced the winners for the 2015 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes. , These ... two categories, one for experiment and the other for theory in nanotechnology. Prof. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: