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Tiny structures in rock may be fossils of earliest known life on Earth

Centimetre-long branching structures found in a rock dated to at least 3.75 billion years ago may be the earliest evidence for life on Earth, although not everyone agrees

Life 13 April 2022

early fossils

The centimetre-size filaments that might be the oldest microfossils on Earth

D.Papineau

Tiny structures found in a rock that is at least 3.75 billion years old may support the idea that microbial life on Earth originated around underwater hydrothermal vents – but the findings are controversial.

Exactly when and how life emerged on Earth is widely debated. All we know is that it occurred sometime after Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago and before the earliest confirmed microbial fossils appeared around 3.4 billion years ago.

Where on Earth life began is also in …