Researchers find Holy Grail of palaeontology

Scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) and overseas have discovered molecules of fat in an ancient fossil to reveal the earliest confirmed animal in the geological record that lived on Earth 558 million years ago.

The strange creature called Dickinsonia, which grew up to 1.4 metres in length and was oval shaped with rib-like segments running along its body, was part of the Ediacara Biota that lived on Earth 20 million years prior to the ‘Cambrian explosion’ of modern animal life._ANU

Rutgers Scientists Identify Protein that May Have Existed When Life Began

The primordial peptide may have appeared 4 billion years ago
How did life arise on Earth? Rutgers researchers have found among the first and perhaps only hard evidence that simple protein catalysts – essential for cells, the building blocks of life, to function – may have existed when life began. Their study of a primordial peptide, or short protein, is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society._ Rutgers University

When water met iron deep inside the earth, it might have created conditions for life

Reservoirs of oxygen-rich iron between the Earth’s core and mantle could have played a major role in Earth’s history, including the breakup of supercontinents, drastic changes in Earth’s atmospheric makeup, and the creation of life, according to recent work from an international research team published in National Science Review. _Carnegie Science

Meteorites may have brought building blocks of life to Earth | McMaster Daily News

Life on Earth began somewhere between 3.7 and 4.5 billion years ago, after meteorites splashed down and leached essential elements into warm little ponds, say scientists at McMaster University and the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Their calculations suggest that wet and dry cycles bonded basic molecular building blocks in the ponds’ nutrient-rich broth into self-replicating RNA molecules that constituted the first genetic code for life on the planet.

McMaster University

Oldest traces of life on Earth may lurk in Canadian rocks

Ancient rocks in northeastern Canada could contain chemical traces of life from more than 3.95 billion years ago, a new study suggests. If confirmed, the finding would be among the earliest known signs of life on Earth._Nature News & Comment

Protein-like structures from the primordial soup

Experiments performed by ETH scientists have shown that it is remarkably easy for protein-like, two-dimensional structures – amyloids – to form from basic building blocks. This discovery supports the researchers’ hypothesis that primal life could have evolved from amyloids such as these. _Fabio Bergamin ETH Zurich

Geochemical process on Saturn’s moon linked to life’s origin

Μελέτη αποκαλύπτει την ενεργό οξύτητα (pH) του νερού που εκτοξεύεται σαν στήλη από πηγή παρόμοια με θερμοπίδακα (Γκέιζερ) στην παγωμένη επιφάνεια του Εγκέλαδου, φεγγαριού του Κρόνου, ο οποίος πιστεύεται ότι είναι γεωλογικά ενεργός και ότι κάτω από το επιφανειακό στρώμα πάγου, φιλοξενεί νερό σε υγρή μορφή.

Missing link in the evolution of complex cells discovered

Νεα μελέτη, η οποία εκπονήθηκε από ερευνητική ομάδα του Πανεπιστημίου της Ουψάλα στην Σουηδία και δημοσιεύθηκε αυτή την εβδομάδα στην επιστημονική επιθεώρηση Nature, παρουσιάζει την ανακάλυψη νέου μικροβίου, το οποίο αντιπροσωπεύει συνδετικό παράγοντα στην πολύπλοκη εξελικτική πορεία της ζωής. Παρέχει βαθύτερη κατανόηση του πώς, δισεκατομμύρια χρόνια πριν, οι σύνθετοι τύποι κυττάρων που απαρτίζουν φυτά, μύκητες καθώς επίσης, ζώα και ανθρώπους, εξελίχθηκαν από απλά μικρόβια.__Π.Δ.Λιβάς
In a new study, published in Nature this week, a research team led from Uppsala University in Sweden presents the discovery of a new microbe that represents a missing link in the evolution of complex life. The study provides a new understanding of how, billions of years ago, the complex cell types that comprise plants, fungi, but also animals and humans, evolved from simple microbes._Uppsala University