Scientists uncover prehistoric world “unlike anything” seen before

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A new ecosystem was discovered in Argentina’s Puna de Atacama desert highlands. It potentially houses life forms dating back around 3.5 billion years, making this the oldest proof of life on Earth ever found.

Brand new old world

In an isolated Argentinian desert, at over 12,000 feet and without roads in sight, scientists uncovered a lagoon that had many excited. Geologist Brian Hynek, one of the scientists who found this untouched ecosystem, said in a statement, “This lagoon could be one of the best modern examples of the earliest signs of life on Earth.” He added, “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen or, really, like anything any scientist has ever seen.”

It offers a glimpse into Earth’s past billion years ago, and Hynek, a professor at CU Boulder, explained the importance of these findings, saying, “It’s just amazing that you can still find undocumented things like that on our planet.”

Life on Mars on Earth

The professor made an exciting comparison, which Mashable reported, “If life ever evolved on Mars to the level of fossils, it would have been like this.” He continued, “Understanding these modern communities on Earth could inform us about what we should look for as we search for similar features in the Martian rocks.”

So far, the oldest evidence of life on Earth has been found in Marble Bar in Western Australia. It includes 3.45-billion-year-old fossilized structures. Other stromatolites, microbial reefs considered the oldest known evidence of life on Earth, were found in the Bahamas. However, they are pretty small compared to stromatolites uncovered in the Atacama Desert’s lagoons.

The area looks like a scene out of space

From an aerial perspective, the discovery spanning around 25 acres with around 12 lagoons looks like the surface of another planet. The area lies 3,600 meters above sea level and is located on the border of Argentina and Chile. It was discovered while examining satellite images of the Atacama highland desert.

Under the water, there are small mountains and bacterial life also links Earth and Mars. It gives a possible clue of what Mars was like before, with Hynek adding, “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen or, really, like anything any scientist has ever seen.”

Check out the out-of-this-world scenery provided by the scientists who examined the area.