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      The Power Without the Glory: Multiple Roles of Hydrogen Peroxide in Mediating the Origin of Life

      1 , 2
      Astrobiology
      Mary Ann Liebert Inc

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          Evolution of a Habitable Planet

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            Evidence for early life in Earth’s oldest hydrothermal vent precipitates

            Although it is not known when or where life on Earth began, some of the earliest habitable environments may have been submarine-hydrothermal vents. Here we describe putative fossilized microorganisms that are at least 3,770 million and possibly 4,280 million years old in ferruginous sedimentary rocks,
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              Rapid emergence of life shown by discovery of 3,700-million-year-old microbial structures.

              Biological activity is a major factor in Earth's chemical cycles, including facilitating CO2 sequestration and providing climate feedbacks. Thus a key question in Earth's evolution is when did life arise and impact hydrosphere-atmosphere-lithosphere chemical cycles? Until now, evidence for the oldest life on Earth focused on debated stable isotopic signatures of 3,800-3,700 million year (Myr)-old metamorphosed sedimentary rocks and minerals from the Isua supracrustal belt (ISB), southwest Greenland. Here we report evidence for ancient life from a newly exposed outcrop of 3,700-Myr-old metacarbonate rocks in the ISB that contain 1-4-cm-high stromatolites-macroscopically layered structures produced by microbial communities. The ISB stromatolites grew in a shallow marine environment, as indicated by seawater-like rare-earth element plus yttrium trace element signatures of the metacarbonates, and by interlayered detrital sedimentary rocks with cross-lamination and storm-wave generated breccias. The ISB stromatolites predate by 220 Myr the previous most convincing and generally accepted multidisciplinary evidence for oldest life remains in the 3,480-Myr-old Dresser Formation of the Pilbara Craton, Australia. The presence of the ISB stromatolites demonstrates the establishment of shallow marine carbonate production with biotic CO2 sequestration by 3,700 million years ago (Ma), near the start of Earth's sedimentary record. A sophistication of life by 3,700 Ma is in accord with genetic molecular clock studies placing life's origin in the Hadean eon (>4,000 Ma).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Astrobiology
                Astrobiology
                Mary Ann Liebert Inc
                1531-1074
                1557-8070
                May 2019
                May 2019
                : 19
                : 5
                : 675-684
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Mathematical Sciences Institute and Research School of Chemistry, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
                [2 ]School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.
                Article
                10.1089/ast.2018.1886
                30707597
                d315a3ae-da55-4378-a561-86c9564fdff2
                © 2019

                https://www.liebertpub.com/nv/resources-tools/text-and-data-mining-policy/121/

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