On the News @ New York Times
Title: Scientists Say Canadian Bacteria Fossils May Be Earth’s Oldest
“They are microscopic artwork: tiny tubes and long filaments, strange squiggles etched into some of the most ancient rocks known.
On Wednesday, researchers reported that these may be the oldest fossils ever discovered, the remains of bacteria thriving on Earth not long, geologically speaking, after the very birth of the planet. If so, they offer evidence that life here got off to a very early start.
But many experts in the field were skeptical of the new study — or downright unconvinced.
Martin J. Van Kranendonk, a geologist at the University of New South Wales, called the patterns in the rocks “dubiofossils” — fossil-like structures, perhaps, but without clear proof that they started out as something alive.
Heated disputes are nothing new in the search for the earliest life on Earth. In 1993 J. William Schopf, a paleontologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, and his colleagues found what that they, too, argued were the world’s oldest fossils: chainlike blobs in 3.46 billion-year-old rocks made, they said, by bacteria. Other researchers later argued that the structures were just oddly shaped minerals. (…)” READ MORE
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