According to a new study carried out by the scientists from the University of Bristol, life on Earth flourished after a giant planet known as Theia collided with our world. Even more, the researchers say, the debris left behind by the collision formed the Moon.
To reach these conclusions, the researchers at the University of Bristol studied the DNA of the current living creatures on Earth to find a common ancestor. Accordingly, the result was puzzling, as the scientists found that the common grandfather of all the living creatures on our planet, the so-called “Last Universal Common Ancestor,” inhabited our world with 100 million years earlier than thought.
“Using this approach we were able to show that the Last Universal Common Ancestor of all cellular life forms, ‘LUCA,’ existed very early in Earth’s history, almost 4.5 Billion years ago. That’s not long after Earth was impacted by the giant planet Theia, the event which sterilized Earth and led to the formation of the Moon,” said Professor Davide Pisani, one of the study’s authors.
Giant planet Theia collided with our planet, making it possible for life on Earth to flourish
As Davide Pisani explained, finding that the “Last Universal Common Ancestor” emerged very early in the Earth’s history contradicts the widely-accepted theory based on the oldest fossil evidence found. According to the new evidence uncovered by the researchers from the University of Bristol, the LUCA appeared 100 million years earlier than thought until now.
Instead of basing their hypothesis on fossil evidence, the scientists from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol decided to analyze DNA samples to trace the common ancestor of all the living creatures on Earth.
“There are few fossils from the Archaean, and they generally cannot be unambiguously assigned to the lineages we are familiar with, like the blue-green algae or the salt-loving archaebacteria that color salt-marshes pink all around the world,” explained Holly Betts, the study’s leading author.
According to this new study, the life of Earth flourished soon after the giant planet Theia collided with our world, collision which also led to the formation of the Moon.
Jasmine holds a Master’s in Journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and writes professionally in a broad variety of genres. She has worked as a senior manager in public relations and communications for major telecommunication companies, and is the former Deputy Director for Media Relations with the Modern Coalition. Jasmine writes primarily in our LGBTTQQIAAP and Science section.