The oldest fossils ever?

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Scientists think they have found the oldest fossils ever in Canada.

Scientists say they have found the world’s oldest fossils, thought to have formed between 3.77bn and 4.28bn years ago. Comprised of tiny tubes and filaments made of an iron oxide known as haematite, the microfossils are believed to be the remains of bacteria that once thrived underwater around hydrothermal vents, relying on chemical reactions involving iron for their energy.

If correct, these fossils offer the oldest direct evidence for life on the planet. And that, the study’s authors say, offers insights into the origins of life on Earth. “If these rocks do indeed turn out to be 4.28 [bn years old] then we are talking about the origins of life developing very soon after the oceans formed 4.4bn years ago,” said Matthew Dodd, the first author of the research from University College, London.

This discovery reminds me of the Mars fossils discovered in the late 1990s. There were enormous uncertainties with that discovery, all of which eventually caused most scientists in the field to reject the result. The same thing could be the case here.

Still in Dallas. I hope to get caught up tomorrow.



  • Ellen

    Good things come of missing flights :)

  • wayne

    Didn’t we have another “oldest fossil ever” find, just last year sometime?

  • Cotour

    I think the take away here is that if we go by the numbers the likelihood of some other form of life to exist in the universe besides us is without question a very high certainty. And so again by the numbers the likelihood that intelligent life also must exist somewhere in this universe besides us is also the same.

    Existing in the last third of the universe’s 13.7 billion years with 9 billion years already having passed I again must assume that we are not alone now nor has the universe been bereft of life in the first two thirds of its existence.

    And we may never know for sure because any civilization that could have existed other then ours has probably eclipsed our ability to detect them, they would essentially be invisible.

  • wayne


    I’d recommend this video as a fairly well done compilation of the problem:

    The Fermi Paradox Compendium
    “A look at the Fermi Paradox detailing all the popular solutions and their strengths and weaknesses.”

    2 tidbits (of many) that are extremely interesting (in my view)-
    – if the Earth was bigger, we would not be able to use our chemical rockets to escape our own gravity.
    – if our Sun was 5-10% bigger, it would have burned out, before humans could have evolved.

  • Cotour

    Its the raw numbers and their immense size that is the mitigating element for me on this subject. There might be as many as 2 Trillion (?) galaxy’s in the universe and each galaxy may have between 200 to 400 Billion stars contained in them? With how many planets orbiting them? With how many life at the minimal stages that could be sustained? Times time.

    Its a crazy calculation, but here we are all the same. Because we are having this conversation I must assume that the universe is more likely to generate some other level of life form within it than to not. Our existence is the best argument for other life in the universe. What is the great obstacle standing in the way of knowing for sure? Distance and over lapping time. The distances are not able to be overcome and the likelihood that two civilization overlap in time and are able to detect each other with comparable technology is very, very slight IMO.

    Whats more likely is that if two civilizations do by some extraordinary coincidence exist at the same time in the universe one would be far, far, far (I can not use too many far’s here) more advanced than the other and would for all intents and purposes be “invisible” to the other. Thats my take.

    (I will watch your suggested video tonight, thanks)

  • Max

    ” If our Sun was 5 to 10% bigger, it would have burned out before humans evolved ”

    NASA newest probe to settle the matter of Corona heating which they claim that they still do not understand.

    “We now know more about the corona and the solar wind than ever before. And yet the two fundamental questions, raised in the 1940s by the discovery of the corona’s million-degree temperature and in the early 1960s by the proof of the supersonic solar wind’s existence, remain unanswered: Why is the solar corona so much hotter than the photosphere? And how is the solar wind accelerated?”

    I think they’re finally going to let the information out that our Sun is not nuclear, is not burning hydrogen into helium. Helium is four times heavier than hydrogen and would displace the hydrogen starving it for fuel and snuffing out the nuclear furnace. Also the Fusion process releases neutrons that can be measured. It has long been known: To sustain that much heat, the neutron release should be “A factor of three” greater at minimum which is enough to irradiate all life on this planet daily. For a giant nuclear furnace, just a few million miles away, releasing virtually no radiation is not possible.
    The photosphere is 10,000°. The core is 50 million° below it. 2 million or more degrees, in Corona sphere, a few thousand miles above it! The example I use is that it’s like a block of ice placed on the tray in an oven with both elements on at the highest level. Coming back in 1 billion years to find that the ice cube has not started melting yet. This is a violation of three of the four laws of thermodynamics.

    The point is, what we know is about to change. As Robert says “the uncertainty of science”. We’re about to find out That Suns do not burn out…
    I will watch your link after I return from my grandchildren’s “grandparents day” at the local school. I’m always open to new ideas and good science which I love about this forum!

  • wayne

    interesting take.

    While I do believe we are in a major paradigm-shift as it relates to Physics, I’m fairly confident that stars are nuclear and they do burn out. (and/or explode, and/or morph into other strange configurations such as white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes.)

    Cotour– agree in large measure on your global points. “Distance” and “time,” are the killer constraints as far as “us” being able to locate “them.”
    I would differ on whether “they” would be invisible to us, but that’s low on my list of concerns. Even at our level of energy use & generation, we’ve been radiating all sorts of electromagnetic radiation, spherically into Space, for almost 100 years.

  • wayne

    [great Trump speech btw]

    “Fermi Paradox”
    (why the odds are so incredibly high, but we have encountered zero evidence.)

    The video I linked is fairly even handed and he covers the “top 50” points associated with the paradox. (it goes pretty quickly, some points are more/less valid than others in my opinion.)

    “Distance,” for me, is the major constraint.
    We’re pretty much confined physically to our solar system for the foreseeable future. We can however “reach out” a distance certain optically and otherwise.

    –If I’m not mistaken– our “local group” of Stars amounts to 20-30, out to a distance of 100 light-years or so. (something like that, it’s fairly sparse around our solar-system. Alpha Centauri is 4 light-years away, and that recent exo-planet discovery was at 40 light years.)

    I do believe however, we are inside a paradigm shift for physics in general, which could contribute to possibly resolving this question. (-although I only play a physicist on the interweb-)

    The whole “quantum computing” ‘thang would be incredible beyond belief, (and then we can invent unreal-cool-stuff & take absolute control, of Space and Time!)

    my obligatory Star Trek reference–
    -Transwarp Conduit
    (or… “How to travel 65 light-years, in 10 seconds.”)

  • Cotour

    Yes, and those radio waves will pass a developing civilization more than likely before they are able to detect them.

    The coincidence is extremely high X’s 100000. (?)

    But again, that coincidence probability IMO is why life itself exists in this universe.

  • Cotour

    Those conduits could be operating as we speak………but we are blind to them. (And everything else that goes along with them, like the civilization that created them)

  • wayne

    C– good stuff.
    the same could be said of us as well. They stopped transmitting before we learned how to pick them up)

    correction– our “Local Group” refers to our “local” Galaxies (roughly 54 of them) and not to our closest stars. (And goes out 100 million light years.)

    Totally off handedly, I’m reminded of that Twilight Zone episode where the seemingly benevolent aliens landed, and things went downhill after that point.
    “To Serve Man,”…. it’s a cook-book!

  • wayne

    The Borg trans-warp conduit, was “less than a light-year from Earth.”
    Voyager Returns Home

  • Ted

    Oldest fossils…… most of them occupy either the House or the Senate. Some are dead.

  • Cotour

    Check it, talking about what we can detect and can not detect:

    If this is unmolested information it is VERY interesting, something 2.5 miles in diameter roaming around the bottom of the ocean? Might this be something that is unaware (assuming it is aware) that it is now detectable?

    Or is it something sitting on the floor of the ocean being moved by some not understood phenomenon?

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