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Carmichael’s Concise Review


attachment to tubes ( Figure 1 ) and terminal knobs, they concluded that their observations could not be explained by any known single or combined abiogenic pathway. Many fi laments and tubes were also found inside concretions of jasper, similar to younger fossils of marine animals found in limestone. Of particular note is the presence of carbonate rosettes, 50 to 200 µm in diameter, which typically contained microscopic inclusions of carbonaceous material and apatite. Similar modern rosettes with concentrically layered minerals are attributed to mineralized bacteria, although those structures are most likely abiogenic but require biomass to form through chemically oscillating reactions. In fact, rosettes and slightly larger granules from the NSB contain phosphorus (an element vital in biology) in apatite within the carbonate rosettes, which suggests a biologic origin. T is conclusion, along with the occurrence of microfossils nearby some structures, indicates an origin involving micro-organisms in the Nuvvuagittuq seafl oor more than 3,700 Myr ago.


If these conclusions are supported by future studies from this laboratory and others, then they will have a profound impact on the search for life on other planets. Dodd and his mentor Papineau suggest that ancient submarine-hydrothermal vents should be viewed as increasingly likely sites for origins of life on Earth, as well as primary targets in the search for extraterrestrial life.


References [1] MS Dodd et al ., Nature 543 ( 2017 ) 60 – 64 . [2] T e author gratefully acknowledges Dr. Dominic Papineau for reviewing this article.


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