The findings and claims are under dispute, but it's an intruiging idea that the oldest fossil evidence of Earth's earliest life forms, 3.4 billion years old, have been found on the land mass now known as Australia :
The ancient remains are remarkably well preserved and provide clues about the kind of primitive life that could be found on Mars.
The Earth was a very hot, violent place with very little oxygen when the microbes - thought to have been sulphur-eating bacteria - lived.
Volcanoes dominated the planet, the skies were cloudy and grey, and the oceans were the temperature of a hot bath.
An Australian and British team unearthed the fossils, which look like tiny cells and tubes, in 3.4 billion-year-old rocks at Strelley Pool, in a remote region of the Pilbara, about 60 kilometres west of Marble Bar