Stromatolites Found in Australian Dessert Reveal Ancient Signs of Life, Scientists Say

by Ernest Thomas
Stromatolites Found in Australian Dessert Reveal Ancient Signs of Life, Scientists Say

Researchers have found ancient microbial fossils in rocks revealing some of the primary signs of life on the planet. Scientists from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) said they had discovered the organic matter in Western Australia’s Pilbara area. At the point, the remains were present in stromatolites, our planet’s oldest fossils. Raphael Baumgartner, a professor from the UNSW, has led the study which pinpoints signs of ancient life.  He said it is the first time they have shown the world that stromatolites are absolute proof for the earlier life on our planet. Also, to analyze the rock, researchers had taken samples by drilling at the core. Even more, they have used highly powered electron microscopy, isotope analysis, and spectroscopy to study the samples.

After the analysis, scientists have found that the rocks are made-up of pyrite along with highly protected organic matter. Raphael says, these stromatolites also provide clues about the evolution of life on Earth. Even more, it also offers a hint where life could exist on the neighboring planets like Mars. As per the author, it is essential to understand where life could have grown to know the forbears. A month ago, researchers from ESA and NASA had spent one week at the site with Prof. Van Kranendonk from UNSW. For the very first time, Prof. Van had shared the area’s perceptions with a special task force of Mars experts including NASA’s and ESA’s Heads of upcoming Mars missions.

As per Prof. Van, it is hugely satisfying that Australia’s ancient rocks and their research is making such a crucial contribution to the exploration of extra-terrestrial life. Even more, the study could assist in revealing the mysteries of Mars in the future. Deputy Program Scientist from the NASA’s Astrobiology program Lindsay Hays said the team had done an outstanding job. She has highlighted the methodologies scientist have used in the study. Due to reliance on techniques, Lindsay calls the study more reliable. She said including various approaches has become a standard in these type of findings. Besides, they have examined many sources of data and evidence in the research. The team of scientists from UNSW has reported their results in the journal Geology.

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