Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana

Volumen 67, núm. 3, 2015, p. 413-420

The origin of life from a paleontological perspective, a review

Catalina Gómez-Espinosa1,*, María Colín-García2, Alicia Negrón-Mendoza3

1 Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito exterior S/N, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 México, D.F., México.
2 Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 México, D.F., México.
3 Instituto de Ciencias Nucleares, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Circuito exterior S/N, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510 México, D.F., México.

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Abstract

Although the origin of life cannot be dated with precision, life must have appeared soon after the cooling of the Earth, when the existence of liquid water on the planet enabled primitive oceans to exist. In fact, fossil records support the evidence of life on Earth earlier than 3400 Ma ago. In order to understand the origin of life, it is useful to track geochemical factors such as the presence of carbon and isotopic evidence, which also suggests the presence of microbials. Eoarchean crustal rocks are located on Akilia Island and on the Isua Greenstone belt southwest of Greenland. The oldest recognized microfossil record is 3430 Ma old from Strelley Pool Formation cherts, Pilbara, Australia. In Paleontology, it is necessary to reevaluate the outcrops of the oldest rock in light of new technologies, new techniques, and a multidisciplinary approach. This will help support data about when life emerged.

Keywords: Earliest microfossils, Eoarchean, Paleoarchean, ancient life, biosignatures.