Life Takes Tenacious Hold

3900 MYA

The chronometer marking life's origin continues to march backwards as we develop new tools for observation and analysis. Recent discoveries suggest that life on Earth may originate as early as 3,850 MYA, even as the planet sustains heavy bombardment from meteorites and other incoming bodies.

Archean earthscape. (Illustration by Peter Sawyer, courtesy Smithsonian Institution)

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