The origin of life started much earlier than scientists thought. The 19th of October 2015, a research supporting that our planet’s first form of life was originated at least 4.1 billion years ago was published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That means 300 million years earlier than previous research suggested, shortly after, almost instantaneously, the planet formed (4.54 billion years ago) and prior to the massive bombardment of the inner solar system that formed the moon’s large craters (3.9 billion years ago).
Scientists had long believed the Earth was dry and desolate during that time period. However, the new research, carried out in UCLA, showed that the planet was probably much more like it is today than previously thought. Simple life appears to have formed quickly and it would evolve to photosynthesize after many millions of years.
The scientists identified and revealed primary inclusions in a mineral, namely dark specks contained in zircons, that were analyzed with Raman spectroscopy. The zircons had a specific ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 that indicates the presence of photosynthetic life. The graphite is older than the zircon containing it, being the latter 4.1 billion-years old.
Video: Dark specks contained in zircons.