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September 27 2012

Study Provides Evidence for Widespread Land-Based Microbial Life in Late Archean Era


There is evidence that some microbial life had migrated from the Earth’s oceans to land by 2.75 billion years ago, though many scientists believe such land-based life was limited because the ozone layer that shields against ultraviolet radiation did not form until hundreds of millions years later. But a new study challenges these beliefs.

“This shows that life didn’t just exist in a few little places on land. It was important on a global scale because it was enhancing the flow of sulfate from land into the ocean,” said Eva Stüeken, a doctoral student in Earth and space sciences with the University of Washington and lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. “In turn, the influx of sulfur probably enhanced the spread of life in the oceans.”.

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