Early life on Earth and beyond may have been ocean dwellers


By studying the genetic tree of life, scientists have determined that the first life on Earth may have lived underwater, where it would be shielded from harmful ultraviolet light from the sun.

The origin of life on Earth remains a mystery, but scientists are slowly putting together genetic puzzle pieces to learn more about how the first life on Earth lived, between 2.5 and 4 billion years ago. Now, scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California, Riverside, have used machine learning to trace the evolutionary development of a protein-based molecule called rhodopsin back to some of the most ancient microbial life-forms to have existed on Earth. The results may also inform the search for life beyond Earth, the scientists argue.

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Originally published at www.space.com

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