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Dr Wacey stressed that the Isua fossils would need to undergo the same rigorous scrutiny as previous ancient microbial fossils had been before this could be considered 100 per cent proof of life 3.7 billion years ago.
Lead author Professor Allen Nutman of the University of Wollongong has been investigating ancient rock formations in the Isua Supercrustal Belt in south-west Greenland for more than 30 years.
The rocks were known to contain a unique carbon signature, but until now, it was unclear whether the signature had been created by ancient life forms or changes in the rock caused by heat and pressure.
The discovery of the fossilised bacterial communities, known as stromatolites, could be the first clear biological evidence of the earliest known life on Earth, according to a paper published today in Nature.
Before this find, the earliest accepted evidence for life were 3.48 billion-year-old fossil stromatolites from the Pilbara region in Western Australia.