Source: William Dunham of Reuters
Microfossils found at Hudson Bay near Quebec show similarities to the microbes that exist today around hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. This discovery adds weight to the Subsurface Hypothesis that life may have originated in hydrothermal vents.
Connection: This was a very coincidental find as we have recently cover the Subsurface Hypothesis of the origin of life and hyperthermophiles/ extremophiles.
Analysis: While the thought of having “proof” of one hypothesis being correct is appealing, there is no way to be sure that the formations found in the quartz were formed by ancient microbes. Even in the article it says, “The researchers expressed confidence the fossils from northeastern Canada were formed by organisms, saying no non-biological explanation was plausible.” They say plausible, but still possible. Without more evidence outside of just the shapes they found, it is a hard road to convince the rest of the scientific community of its authenticity.
Question: What level of evidence would the scientists need to convince the rest of their colleagues of their theory?
1 Comment for “Canadian bacteria-like fossils called oldest evidence of life”
I agree with your analysis. I thought this article was a bit optimistic. Though I do not think this answers our subsurface/surface hypothesis, I think we are getting to that answer very soon. I also found it interesting that these may be the newest oldest discovered fossils. It would appear that in addition to finding support for the subsurface theory, they also found evidence that life may have began earlier than previously thought.
I think obtaining a greater quantity of “proof” in more than one location would be enough to convince other scientists that these microbes are ancient. That would take time and more discoveries from other scientists and possibly technology that has not yet been invented.