On the wild summits of Canada’s Torngat Mountains, scientists study some of the oldest rocks on earth. Thousands of miles away, researchers in a Japanese laboratory pick apart the chemical elements that make up this ancient landscape. Now, they’ve discovered evidence of life on earth – almost four billion years in the past.
Since human beings first arrived on planet earth, they have sought to understand it in different ways. Both science and religion have produced many varied theories about the origins of life, each having their time in the spotlight over the years.
Today, most scientists believe that the earth came into being just over 4.5 billion years ago. But what happened next is still the subject of some debate. Although some materials, such as zircon crystals, have been dated to around 4.3 billion years ago, the first signs of life were not thought to have emerged until some 500 million years later than that.