University of Alabama research probes origin of life on Earth

A University of Alabama professor specializing in the esoteric field of biomineralization has discovered a way to prove the timing of the early origins of life on Earth and possibly, in the years to come when rock samples are returned from Mars, to determine if life was present on the red planet.

Professor Alberto Perez-Huerta, a Ph.D. holder from the University of Oregon and who completed post-doctoral work at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, discovered a way to use a very special instrument, a Local Electro Atom Probe, or LEAP for short, to analyze a specific mineral in ancient rock that could only have been generated by a living bacterial organism. His research by him lays a foundation upon which other scientists can build more accurate theories about early life on Earth.

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