Fresh water and key conditions for life appeared on Earth half a billion years earlier than we thought | News World

We need two ingredients for life to start on a planet: dry land and (fresh) water. Strictly, the water doesn’t have to be fresh, but fresh water can only occur on dry land.

Only with those two conditions met can you convert the building blocks of life, amino acids and nucleic acids into tangible bacterial life that heralds the start of the evolutionary cycle.

The oldest life on Earth left in our fragmented rock record is 3.5 billion years old, with some chemical data showing it may even be as old as 3.8 billion years. Scientists have hypothesised life might be even older, but we have no records of that being the case.

Our new study published in Nature Geoscience provides the first evidence of fresh water and dry land on Earth by 4 billion years ago. Knowing when the cradle of life – water and land – first appeared on Earth ultimately provides clues as to how we came to be.

Water and land: the essences of life

Imagine you’ve stepped into a time machine and gone…


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