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Life on Mars? Fossil find shows it's possible

Life on Mars?Scientists have found Earth's oldest fossils in Australia and say their microscopic discovery is convincing evidence that cells and bacteria were able to thrive in an oxygen-free world more than 3.4 billion years ago.

The finding suggests early life was sulphur-based -- living off and metabolizing sulphur rather than oxygen for energy -- and supports the idea that similar life forms could exist on other planets where oxygen levels are low or non-existent.

"Could these sorts of things exist on Mars? It's just about conceivable. This evidence is certainly encouraging and lack of oxygen on Mars is not a problem," said Martin Brasier ofOxford University, who worked on the team that made the discovery.

The microfossils, which the researchers say are very clearly preserved and show precise cell-like structures, were found in a remote part of western Australia called Strelley Pool.


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