Judyth Sassoon, a master’s degree student in paleontology, examines a rock containing fossil remains of a Thecondontosaurus antiquus, the oldest known dinosaur in Britain and one of the oldest in the world, on November 3, 2009 in Bristol, England. (Photo : Getty Images/Matt Cardy)
Scientists reported on March 1, Wednesday, that tiny filaments, knobs and tubes that are around 4.28 billion years old found in Canadian rocks may be the oldest fossils ever discovered on Earth. However, many experts in the field were either skeptical or not convinced at all.
The researchers published their study on the fossils in the journal Nature. Based on their findings in some of the most ancient rocks known, life on Earth had a very early start.
One of the researchers is Matthew Dodd. Despite the doubts of several critics, he claimed that the discovery would offer new pieces of evidence that prove the origins of life after analyzing the structures at University College London, United Kingdom.
Dodd told BBC News that the discovery answers the biggest questions mankind has asked itself which are the inquiries on where humans come from and why humans are on Earth. He said, "It is very humbling to have the oldest known lifeforms in your hands and being able to look at them and analyze them."
Dodd's fellow authors of the study are Dominic Papineau, Tor Grenne, John F. Slack, Martin Rittner, Franco Pirajno, Jonathan O'Neil and Crispin T.S. Little. They looked at sections of rock likely laid down in a system of hydrothermal vents.
It was in quartz layers in the so-called Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt (NSB) where the fossil structures were wrapped. A chunk of ancient ocean floor, the NSB contains some of the oldest volcanic and sedimentary rocks ever known.
Papineau strongly believes that they have found the oldest fossils on Earth. He was the one who discovered the fossils in Quebec, Canada.
For Papineau, the discovery relates to the origins of man. He pointed out that it is inspiration for intelligent life to "evolve to a level of consciousness, to a point where it traces back its history to understand its own origin."
Meanwhile, watch a video about the oldest dinosaur found in the U.K. here: