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Greenland may be home to Earth’s oldest fossils

3.7-billion-year old mounds signal early microbes

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1:00pm, August 31, 2016
stromatolites

EARLY START  The wavelike mounds of sediment called stromatolites (marked by dashed lines) embedded inside this cross section of a 3.7-billion-year-old rock may be the oldest known fossilized evidence of life on Earth.

A melting snow patch in Greenland has revealed what could be the oldest fossilized evidence of life on Earth. The 3.7-billion-year-old structures may help scientists retrace the rise of the first organisms relatively soon after Earth’s formation around 4.5 billion years ago (SN: 2/8/14, p. 16), the discoverers report online August 31 in Nature.

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