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Proceedings Paper

Beginnings of terrestrial life: problems of the early record and implications for extraterrestrial scenarios
Author(s): Manfred Schidlowski
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Paper Abstract

With the paleobiological evidence from the currently known Archaean rock record at hand, the existence on Earth of microbial ecosystems as from about 3.8 Ga ago so firmly established as to be virtually unassailable. However, important details pertaining to the establishment and early history of life on this planet call for further elucidation. Residual questions primarily center around (1) the impairment of relevant information in the oldest record that bears a metamorphic overprint, (2) the apparent non- documentation in the Archaean record of an archaebacterial lineage expected to form the base of the phylogenetic tree of terrestrial life, (3) the possible role of impact interference with early biological evolution, and (4) problems of the time scale of early organic evolution as exemplified by the unheralded appearance about 3.8 Ga ago of microbial life on the organizational level of the prokaryotic cell.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 July 1998
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3441, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology, (6 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.319832
Show Author Affiliations
Manfred Schidlowski, Max-Planck-Institut fuer Chemie (Germany)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3441:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology
Richard B. Hoover, Editor(s)

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