St. Lucy's Priory High School

Fossil remains found in Greenland may point to evidence of life on Mars

Fossilized remains are a curious piece to the puzzle that fortifies the natural history of our world. These relics provide a glance to the distant past and allow archeologists to continue to speculate the beginnings of life here on Earth. However, for astronomers, fossil evidence opens the doors to the possibility of life existing beyond our atmosphere.

A team of Australian scientists have widened this prospect even further after uncovering ancient fossils, the oldest to date. Following an in-depth analysis, the remains were dated back to 3.7 billion years ago; a staggering 220 million years before life was believed to have emerged. This time is known as the Archean Era.

The fossils were unearthed in an area known as the Isua Supracrustal Belt (ISB), located in southwest Greenland. Scientists were previously unable to reach this region, though rapidly melting ice caused by global warming made it accessible.

They were discovered as stromatolites, or formations composed of layers of sediment piled together by communities of water-based bacteria. These remains were once a colony of microorganisms that thrived on the archaic seafloor, evidenced by the rare marine elements and sedimentary rock found near the samples.

The monumental find has forced scientists to reassess what was preconceived to be the origins of life on Earth and has also brought forth the age-old discussion of life on Mars. As dubious as it sounds, the remains may contribute to speculation of similar structures hidden on the Red Planet.

About 3.7 billion years ago, Mars had a warmer and wetter climate. Encompassing this, it is not unreasonable to say the earliest microbes were able to form just before the planet’s atmosphere was stripped away and its waters ran completely dry.

Professor Martin Van Kranendonk, the Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at UNSW explained, “The structures and geochemistry from newly exposed outcrops in Greenland display all of the features used in younger rocks to argue for a biological origin. This discovery represents a new benchmark for the oldest preserved evidence of life on Earth. It points to a rapid emergence of life on Earth and supports the search for life in similarly ancient rocks on Mars.”

–Audrey Strople

8 Comments

  • Reply mars.is.alive January 9, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Based on this result – global warming is good

    Like

  • Reply digi1248 January 9, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Sure why not, I found a rock just yesterday that clearly shows that men live on the moon.

    Like

  • Reply Jonathan C. Halperen January 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Of course there is life on Mars. Bugs Bunny discovered it.

    Like

  • Reply Dr. Anthony Menicucci January 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Ms. Strople, thank you for the informative article. I have a comment and a small request. Firstly, it is not archeologists that study the history of the earth on the time scales you are discussing; paleontologists are the ones who study fossils from “deep-time,” not related to history on human evolutionary time scales.
    Secondly, I would be interested in which peer-reviewed journal the Australian team published their results. Would you please provide the name of this journal so that I might read their publication? Thank you for your time

    Like

  • Reply No Thanks. January 9, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    No.

    Like

  • Reply SRW January 10, 2017 at 8:07 am

    To the editors/writers, good story, but it would be a lot easier to read if the print were thicker/darker. Thanks

    Like

  • Reply qedlin January 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Despite the Viking mission findings of no biotic compounds or environmental evidence of life on Mars, science is all gaga about missions to Mars now to look for life/evidence.The connection between Greenland’s stromatolites and activities on Mars at that time are purely anecdotal and speculative. Origin of life researchers have miserably failed to provide a viable naturalistic theory of life’s emergence, but appear willing to spend $hundreds of millions on the whim that it also arose on Mars: now that requires a lot of faith.

    Not only are paleontologist required for the job, but the archaeologists will be needed to uncover the alleged civilizations that arose on Mars as well.

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  • Reply Ancient Martian rocks found in Greenland – HS Insider January 26, 2017 at 11:00 am

    […] rocks have been found in Greenland that have evidence of Martian life and the idea of […]

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