A team of researchers from Stanford University and University of California, Los Angeles have uncovered an ancient zircon crystal in Western Australia that predates the appearance of life on earth by 300 million years. Archaeologists have collected around 10,000 multibillion year-old zircon crystals from Jack Hills that has one carbon deposit which is believed to be 4.1 billion years old.
The new discovery means that life emerged shortly after earth was formed 4.6 billion years ago. The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences states that this may provide vital clues for the origin of life on earth. Previously scientists have used fossil records to assert that life on earth began 3.8 billion years ago whereas humans appeared on earth around 200,000 years ago.
The study also suggests that life existed on earth prior to the bombardment of the inner solar system that formed the moon’s large craters 3.9 billion years ago. Co-author of the study, Patrick Boehnke said that, “If all life on Earth died during this bombardment, which some scientists have argued, then life must have restarted quickly”.