The following commentator writes:

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Researchers at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin–Madison have confirmed that microscopic fossils discovered in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old piece of rock in Western Australia are the oldest fossils ever found and indeed the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth.

It seems strange that this would come up recently. I thought there might be something older.

My question is: Are these 3.5B year old fossils the oldest on earth?

  • $\begingroup$ Your question seems to directly challenge qualified and peer reviewed researchers from highly esteemed U.S. universities who have confirmed that they are oldest. How is it that an answer from a website, answered by grad students goofing off in their spare time would convince you? $\endgroup$
    – Karl Kjer
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn’t aware of their credentials, I was hoping someone could point out whether the paper is the real thing or not. $\endgroup$
    – hawkeye
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 12:21
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it appears to be about archeology not biology. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ @David This is not archeology (which is about humans). It is about paleobiology. $\endgroup$
    – Karl Kjer
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ @KarlKjer — OK, that sort of thing. But hardly SE Biology. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


Yes, the study was peer reviewed and published less than a month ago (Dec 18, 2017) in PNAS, among the most prestigious journals in science by qualified experts. They could be wrong of course, like all science. But there is no reason I can see to doubt their work.


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