The discovery was made in the Nuvvuagittuq Greenstone Belt in Northern Quebec in rock known as "banded iron formations." These formations existed billions of years ago, a result of organisms reacting with dissolved iron in the water that covered the planet. Johnathan O'Neil, assistant professor at the University of Ottawa's Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, holds a sample of rock taken from the area where he and the research team discovered microfossils of the oldest life forms ever found on Earth.
Our solar system formed about 4.6 billion years ago.
Scientists believe that about 4.3 billion years ago, water already existed on Earth's surface.
"Very quickly after its formation, the Earth became closer to what it is today.
We already have evidence of water at the surface of the Earth by about 4.3 billion years ago." And it's in that water, together with thermal activity below where life began to flourish, first as microorganisms.
However, O'Neil said that recent research is painting a far different picture.
"Within the last 15, 20 years, we have more and more evidence that that's not the case," he said.
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She is the editor of the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the author of several books.