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4.6 Billion Years ago, the Earth was formed.
It was a fireball, with conditions that were unsuitable for life.
However, some of the first fossils can date back very close to that time, as microfossils were found in Canada that date back to 4.28 billion years ago.
The first genetic life came in the form of evolved polymers, which are compounds made of many monomer molecules. These polymers could replicate, store and transfer information. These polymers are RNA and DNA.
The people that first discovered this were Stanley Miller and Harold Urey. They did an experiment in the 1950's with an apparatus which had a mix of gases that were similar to those in the Earth's early atmosphere. In aid with an electric current, they ran the experiment for a week and analyzed the contents afterwards. They found that several organic amino acids had formed from inorganic materials. In aid with various geological, biological, and chemical evidence, they came to the conclusion that the first life came from chemical reactions.
In fact, the polymer RNA might be the earliest form of genetic material, and was present in many prokaryotic organisms before eukaryotic organisms evolved.
RNA and DNA are close relatives. Research conducted on RNA shows that they will replicate, evolve, and compete for survival. With some evidence showing it as the first genetic material, there is no reason why this could not have occurred billions of years ago. RNA could be the basis for life!
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