Russian and Israeli scientists under the leadership of St. Petersburg State University professor Sergei Britvin have found phosphorus minerals on the Dead Sea’s shores, associated with the emergence of life on Earth.
The emergence of life on earth is associated with phosphorus, one of the most important chemical elements that make up RNA, DNA, and cell membranes. However, researchers do not know which specific compounds of this compound contributed to such molecules’ building blocks. Many scientific schools believe that it was from cyclophosphates that life began on our planet billions of years ago.
Scientists have discovered cyclophosphates in the rocks of the Dead Sea basin. They have never been found in nature before, although cyclophosphates are actively used by industry.
These rocks survived heating to high temperatures, so they are especially interesting for the search for cyclophosphates, which are believed to have originated on ancient Earth due to meteorite impacts or volcanic activity.
Phosphide grains were found together with particles of iron and nickel cyclophosphates. This, according to the authors of the work, suggests that the second type of compound was formed as a result of the oxidation of phosphides at high temperatures. In general, this process repeats what supposedly happened on ancient Earth. He believes that their discovery in the Mertf Sea reproduces the algorithm for the formation of phosphorus-containing substances in the early stages of the Earth’s evolution.
Thanks to this find, scientists want to understand better how life began on Earth.