Traces of 2.5 billion years of life found in a ruby ​​stone

Unique traces of graphite were found in a very old sapphire. They came from living microorganisms more than two billion years ago.

Life appeared on Earth a long time ago. Long before dinosaurs appeared, annihilated by a meteorite, slowly grown microorganisms. You should know that at that time, the Earth’s atmosphere was very poor in oxygen. So the existence of complex life forms was almost impossible.

Inside out: graphite (gray), corundum (pink), biotite (dark gray). Credit: University of Waterloo

According to the researchers, initially simple organisms such as algae or microbes were formed. These early inhabitants were able to capture the sun’s energy and start chemical reactions that increased the level of oxygen, and at the same time, Encouraging the emergence of more complex life forms.

A rare testimony from the past

In Greenland researchers made this discovery. While studying very ancient sapphires, they realized that one of them contained a surprise: graphite.

Graphite is a pure form of carbon. Lightweight and easy to integrate into cells, Carbon is the basic building block of life. The distribution between its different isotopes is a good way to study the origin and age of its existence. By analyzing the carbon 12 content in sapphire, the researchers were able to say that it was remnants of cyanobacteriaOne of the first inhabitants of our planet.

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Although there are 2.5 billion, This trace of life will not be the oldest that has ever been discovered. According to numerous studies (some quite controversial), the first traces date back 3 billion years. However, this discovery may allow scientists to better understand the formation of the famous sapphire.

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The color and composition of a sapphire can give clues to its environment, but hardly indicate the origin of its composition. However, scientists have discovered that the presence of graphite can change the chemical composition of nearby rocks and thus Create favorable conditions for the formation of sapphire.

So perhaps life, beautiful and transient, is the origin of this gem and timeless.

Source : life

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