SMN Weekly – Life Existed 3.2 Billion Years Ago

February 17, 2015 6:47 AM

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A spark from the lightning bolt, an underwater volcano or interstellar dust might have triggered the very first life on Earth. The ability to use atmospheric nitrogen to support life was thought to have appeared around two billion years ago. Research from the University of Washington found evidence that life might have existed around 3.2 billion years ago. The research said that they were already pulling nitrogen out of the air and converting it into a form that had capacity to support larger communities.

“People always had the idea that the really ancient biosphere was just tenuously clinging on to this inhospitable planet, and it wasn’t until the emergence of nitrogen fixation that suddenly the biosphere become large and robust and diverse,” said co-author Roger Buick, a UW professor of Earth and s...

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