Scientists discover window back in time to life on Earth 3.5 billion years ago

A team of scientists discovered an untouched region on Earth that could provide them with a window to life on the planet 3.5 billion years ago.

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A group of scientists discovered a region of Earth that has previously gone undocumented, and within this region is a unique ecosystem that may be a window for researchers to look back 3.5 billion years to the state of life on Earth.

The previously undocumented region is located in a remote Argentina desert at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet. The team of researchers that discovered it caught glimpses of the terrain through satellite images and decided to pack up a car, drive as far as the road would take them, and then, when the road finished, walk to what now appears to be a prehistoric world of its own.

The researchers discovered a series of lagoons surrounded by salt flats that are home to microbial communities of stromatolites. These stromatolites are created by cyanobacteria, formerly known as blue-green algae, and a photosynthesizing bacteria that grows alongside minerals to create unusual rock formations over time. Researchers described this region in Argentina as the "best modern examples of the earliest signs of life on Earth".

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"This lagoon could be one of the best modern examples of the earliest signs of life on Earth," geologist Brian Hynek, one of the scientists who found this elusive ecosystem, said in a statement. "It's unlike anything I've ever seen or, really, like anything any scientist has ever seen."

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"It's just amazing that you can still find undocumented things like that on our planet," Hynek, a professor at CU Boulder, marveled.

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"If life ever evolved on Mars to the level of fossils, it would have been like this," Hynek said. "Understanding these modern communities on Earth could inform us about what we should look for as we search for similar features in the Martian rocks."

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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