Two more pieces of evidence strengthen the case for the early appearance of land life. The significance of such findings is two-fold. First, it demonstrates the accuracy of the Genesis 1 record, which says that God created land life early, very early, in the creation week. Second, it demonstrates God’s planning and provision for the needs of advanced life, especially of humans in the development of their civilization.
Studies of ancient rocks in South Africa indicate that life existed on Earth’s land masses as far back as 2.6 billion years ago.1 (Prior to this discovery, the earliest undisputed date for land-dwelling life was 1.2 billion years ago.2) Researchers compared the ratio of carbon-13 to carbon-12 isotopes found in 2.6-billion-year-old rocks with the ratio found in later-era rocks known to have been formed (on land) by cyanabacteria. The ratios matched.
The second finding also comes from rocks. Ancient (2+ billion years old) deposits of organically generated silicates and calcium-bearing minerals show signs of wind erosion. In other words, this organic (living) matter was land-based not oceanbased, for wind can only erode exposed rocks (rocks not submerged in oceans). Thus, we have further confirmation that life existed on land more than 2 billion years ago, very early in Earth’s history.
The “very good” result of this early appearance of land life is that it allows for the maximum imaginable diversity and density of life on planet Earth. God gave us a wealth of natural resources to enjoy, to care for, and to use as we fulfill our part in His eternal plan.
- Yumiko Watanabe et al., “Geochemical Evidence for Terrestrial Ecosystems 2.6 Billion Years Ago,” Nature 408 (2000), 574-78.
- Sid Perkins, “Life Landed 2.6 Billion Years Ago,” Science News 158 (2000), 356.