Re: It may be hard for life to get started

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Thu Jan 11 2001 - 10:58:27 MST

John Clark wrote:
> In today's issue of Nature a team of scientists from UCLA and the
> Curtin University of Technology in Perth Australia present strong
> evidence that liquid water existed on Earth at least 4.3 billion years ago,
> 400 million years earlier than previously thought. The oldest known fossil
> is 3.85 billion years old and if we only started to get liquid water 3.9 billion
> ago as had been believed then the origin of life, at least the simplest
> forms of it, must have formed very quickly and thus be easy to do.
> But if life needed those extra 400 million years to get started then it might
> not be effortless for nature to produce even the most rudimentary life forms.
> This may mean that simple life as well as the complex stuff like us is rare
> in the universe.

What it means is that once you realize the late peak in bombardment that
occured immediately before the earliest fossil evidence, that it was the
bombardment that eliminated any early life signs we are currently able
to spot, so the 'gap' is a matter of the slate being wiped clean by
bombardment, not that there was not any actual life before that.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon May 28 2001 - 09:56:18 MDT