News From The Ooze

A fossil discovery suggests that life evolved with surprising rapidity

HOW FAST DID LIFE EVOLVE ON EARTH? A LOT FASTer than we thought, according to an article in Science. Theorists generally assumed that it took at least 1.5 billion years for living things to emerge from the primordial soup. Now the discovery in Western Australia of a group of fossils containing 11 different types of microbes shows that life was already thriving and fairly diversified 3.5 billion years ago, a mere 400 million years after the earth became habitable. J. William Schopf, the UCLA paleobiologist who found the worm- shaped microfossils, thinks that the creatures may have already been producing oxygen...

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