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Rapid emergence of life shown by discovery of 3,700-million-year-old microbial structures

Overview of attention for article published in Nature, August 2016
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

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247 Mendeley
Title
Rapid emergence of life shown by discovery of 3,700-million-year-old microbial structures
Published in
Nature, August 2016
DOI 10.1038/nature19355
Pubmed ID
Authors

Allen P. Nutman, Vickie C. Bennett, Clark R. L. Friend, Martin J. Van Kranendonk, Allan R. Chivas, Nutman, Allen P, Bennett, Vickie C, Friend, Clark R L, Van Kranendonk, Martin J, Chivas, Allan R

Abstract

Biological activity is a major factor in Earth's chemical cycles, including facilitating CO2 sequestration and providing climate feedbacks. Thus a key question in Earth's evolution is when did life arise and impact hydrosphere-atmosphere-lithosphere chemical cycles? Until now, evidence for the oldest life on Earth focused on debated stable isotopic signatures of 3,800-3,700 million year (Myr)-old metamorphosed sedimentary rocks and minerals from the Isua supracrustal belt (ISB), southwest Greenland. Here we report evidence for ancient life from a newly exposed outcrop of 3,700-Myr-old metacarbonate rocks in the ISB that contain 1-4-cm-high stromatolites-macroscopically layered structures produced by microbial communities. The ISB stromatolites grew in a shallow marine environment, as indicated by seawater-like rare-earth element plus yttrium trace element signatures of the metacarbonates, and by interlayered detrital sedimentary rocks with cross-lamination and storm-wave generated breccias. The ISB stromatolites predate by 220 Myr the previous most convincing and generally accepted multidisciplinary evidence for oldest life remains in the 3,480-Myr-old Dresser Formation of the Pilbara Craton, Australia. The presence of the ISB stromatolites demonstrates the establishment of shallow marine carbonate production with biotic CO2 sequestration by 3,700 million years ago (Ma), near the start of Earth's sedimentary record. A sophistication of life by 3,700 Ma is in accord with genetic molecular clock studies placing life's origin in the Hadean eon (>4,000 Ma).

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 247 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 7 3%
Germany 4 2%
France 4 2%
United Kingdom 4 2%
Australia 2 <1%
Netherlands 2 <1%
Canada 2 <1%
India 2 <1%
Peru 1 <1%
Other 8 3%
Unknown 211 85%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 70 28%
Researcher 44 18%
Student > Bachelor 32 13%
Student > Master 29 12%
Professor 22 9%
Other 34 14%
Unknown 16 6%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Earth and Planetary Sciences 85 34%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 61 25%
Physics and Astronomy 18 7%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 15 6%
Environmental Science 15 6%
Other 37 15%
Unknown 16 6%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 2219. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 16 May 2017.
All research outputs
#191
of 7,737,558 outputs
Outputs from Nature
#55
of 46,260 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#15
of 245,672 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Nature
#6
of 982 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 7,737,558 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 46,260 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 71.6. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 245,672 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 982 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.