Life began on Earth earlier than thought. There is evidence of life 3.8 billion years ago. This is only 0.7 billion short of the total life of the planet. A new study has pushed the origins of life back another 300 million years.
It seems life began as soon the chaotic period of Earth's formation had settled down. Flecks of graphite were trapped in the crystal zircon. This microscopic carbon mineral is among the zirconium, oxygen and silicon which is the main structure of the crystal.
While trapped graphite is not full evidence of life, carbon is classed as biogenetic - life needs it to begin. It is believed that the graphite was originally organic before being absorbed by zirconium. Apparently, Earth calmed down very quickly after formation. Estimates now puts the origin of life on Earth at 4.1 billion years.
◆ Biology Ty Buchanan ◆