Early life on Earth may have developed more quickly than previously believed

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Washington, November 12 (ANI): In a new research, scientists have determined that the Earth's climate was probably far cooler billions of years ago, which indicates that early life on the planet may have developed more quickly than previously thought.

The research was conducted by an international team of scientists, which includes scientists from Yale University, Stanford University, and a Texas A and M University expert.

According to Mike Tice, a researcher in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at Texas A and M, 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 explained.

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 said that the situation could be compared to the geysers currently found in Yellowstone National Park, where hundreds of hot spring pools 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 said.

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," said Tice.

"We think this is similar to what conditions might have been like billions of years ago," he added.

"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," said Tice. (ANI)

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