Scientists have unearthed traces of ancient life in a gem 2.5 billion years old

(CNN) – Scientists say they have found traces of ancient life inside the 2.5 billion year old ruby.

In the ruby ​​model of Greenland, known ancient ruby ​​deposits are found, which contain graphite, a mineral made from pure carbon. Chemical signatures on carbon say it is a remnant of early life.

Chris Yakimsuk, a professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said: “The graphite inside this ruby ​​is truly unique. In a press release.

Graphite was found in rocks 2.5 billion years ago, there was a lack of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere and single-cell life was limited to microorganisms and algae.

To determine whether carbon has a biological origin, researchers studied its chemistry, especially the isotope composition of carbon atoms.

“Living matter is made up of lighter carbon atoms because they require less energy to move into cells,” Yakimchuk said. “Based on the increased levels of carbon-12 in this graphite, we concluded that carbon atoms were once an ancient life form, mostly dead microorganisms such as cyanobacteria.”

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While studying the geography of gems, scientists discovered the rock in Greenland and had a good understanding of the conditions necessary for their formation.

Gems are the red type of corundum mineral.

Sapphires are made from the same material. In gems, chromium produces a distinctive color, while traces of iron, titanium and nickel form sapphires of various colors, including blue, which is usually associated with gemstones.

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The team also found that graphite may have altered the chemistry of the surrounding rocks to create a favorable environment for the growth of the gem.

“The presence of graphite provides additional clues to determine how gems formed in this area, which cannot be done directly based on the color and chemical composition of the ruby,” Yakimchuk said in a statement.

Published in research Mineral geography reviews In the last week.

Misty Tate

"Freelance twitter advocate. Hardcore food nerd. Avid writer. Infuriatingly humble problem solver."

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