However, recent research could change all that. In a paper published in the journal Nature in September 2017, a team of scientists from the University of Tokyo announced the surprising results of an expedition to Labrador, on the east coast of mainland Canada.
There, the researchers had been studying some of the oldest rocks in the world. From a region known as the Torngat Mountains in Canada’s far northeast, they are thought to be around four billion years old – formed when the earth was still in its infancy.
At the time, our planet would have looked very different to how it does today. With no oxygen in its atmosphere, it presented a very hostile environment to potential life. However, the University of Tokyo researchers discovered something fascinating buried in the ancient rocks.