Life Before Earth

This paper is two years old now, but still seems big news to me:


Genetic complexity, roughly measured by the number of non-redundant functional nucleotides … Linear regression of genetic complexity (on a log scale) extrapolated back to just one base pair suggests the time of the origin of life = 9.7 ± 2.5 billion years ago. … There was no intelligent life in our universe at the time of the origin of Earth, because the universe was 8 billion years old at that time, whereas the development of intelligent life requires ca. 10 billion years of evolution. (source; discussion; HT Stuart LaForge)

That seems remarkably close to the age of the universe, 13.8 billion years. Yes it might be a coincidence, but we have other reasons to suspect life began before Earth. So I take this as a substantial if hardly overwhelming confirmation.

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