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RE: Ancient life
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Fossilised filaments from hot ocean vent claimed to be earliest evidence of life on Earth

Tiny mineralised filaments smaller than a human hair found in rocks more than 3.77 billion years old may be evidence of one of the oldest lifeforms on Earth.
An international team of scientists has discovered what they believe are the fossilised remains of microorganisms that would have clustered around a hot, seafloor vent.
They said the discovery, published today in Nature, complements other evidence of early life found last year in 3.71-billion-year-old fossil stromatolites in Greenland.

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Earliest living organisms
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Earliest evidence of life on Earth 'found'

Scientists have discovered what they say could be fossils of some of the earliest living organisms on Earth.
They are represented by tiny filaments, knobs and tubes in Canadian rocks dated to be up to 4.28 billion years old.
That is a time not long after the planet's formation and hundreds of millions of years before what is currently accepted as evidence for the most ancient life yet found on Earth.

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RE: Ancient life
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World's oldest fossils unearthed

Remains of microorganisms at least 3,770 million years old have been discovered by an international team led by UCL scientists, providing direct evidence of one of the oldest life forms on Earth.
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World's oldest fossils unearthed

Remains of microorganisms at least 3,770 million years old have been discovered - providing direct evidence of one of the oldest life forms on Earth.
An international research team has found tiny filaments and tubes formed by bacteria encased in quartz layers, which contain some of the oldest sedimentary rocks known on Earth.

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Websteroprion armstrongi
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400 million year old gigantic extinct monster worm discovered in Canadian museum

Researchers from the University of Bristol, Lund University in Sweden and the Royal Ontario Museum studied an ancient fossil, which has been stored at the museum since the mid-1990s, and discovered the remains of a giant extinct bristle worm (the marine relatives of earthworms and leeches).
Sample materials, from what proved to belong to the Devonian Kwataboahegan Formation, were brought back to the Royal Ontario Museum, where they have been stored until they caught the eyes of the authors'.
The species has been named Websteroprion armstrongi. This honours Armstrong, who collected the material, and bass player extraordinaire, Alex Webster of Death Metal band Cannibal Corpse, since he can be regarded as a 'giant' when it comes to handling his instrument.

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RE: Ancient life
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Ancient Rocks Give a Glimpse Into Life Before Oxygen

Somewhere between Earth's creation and where we are today, scientists have demonstrated that some early life forms existed just fine without any oxygen.
While researchers proclaim the first half of our 4.5 billion-year-old planet's life as an important time for the development and evolution of early bacteria, evidence for these life forms remains sparse including how they survived at a time when oxygen levels in the atmosphere were less than one-thousandth of one percent of what they are today.

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New Bacteria Groups, and Stunning Diversity, Discovered Underground

One of the most detailed genomic studies of any ecosystem to date has revealed an underground world of stunning microbial diversity, and added dozens of new branches to the tree of life.
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3 billion-year-old fossils show early microbes lived in cavities

It seems the microbes that formed Earth's first ecosystems looked for shade when the sun was strong, just like we do.
Fossils found in South Africa suggest that cavities in tidal sediments might have provided refuge from deadly solar rays during the Archaean aeon when we think that life emerged on Earth
At this time, between 4 billion and 2.5 billion years ago, Earth was scorched by intense UV radiation, and had no ozone layer to protect it - a bit like Mars is today.
At the Barberton greenstone belt in South Africa, an area where ancient volcanic rock has been pushed to the surface, there are thin layers of rock thought to be 3.22 billion-year-old microbial mats - sheets of microbes that covered tidal areas of the seashore.

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Complex life
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Revealed - the single event that made complex life possible in our oceans

The catalyst that allowed the evolution of complex life in Earth's oceans has been identified by a University of Bristol researcher. Up to 800 million years ago, the Earths oceans were deprived of oxygen. It was only when microorganisms called phytoplankton, capable of performing photosynthesis, colonised the oceans - covering two thirds of our planet - that production of oxygen at a massive scale was made possible.
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Hallucigenia
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Weird fossil worm with legs and spikes finally reveals its head

Hallucigenia was a worm-like marine animal with legs, spikes and a head that is difficult to distinguish from its tail. It is only a few centimetres long, and its body is as thin as a pin.
This enigmatic 508-million-year-old worm-like creature has been tricking scientists since the 1970s. Reconstructions of what it would have looked like had it upside down, on its side and even back to front.
Now Martin Smith of the University of Cambridge and his colleagues think they finally have the correct description of this creature, which lived during the Cambrian explosion when most major animal groups first emerge in the fossil record.

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