Ponce de Leon may not have discovered the fountain of youth, but life just got younger nonetheless.  Scientists have long held that life has existed on Earth for 3.5 billion years based on what was thought to be fossilized bacteria discovered in a rock in Australia.  That research has been called into serious question by new research.  Geologists at the University of Kansas have concluded that the structures in question are hematites (a mineral), not bacteria.  If their findings are confirmed, then life will be downgraded from 3.5 billion years old to 2 billion years old.

This is both good and bad for materialists.  It’s always been difficult for them to explain how life could have appeared on Earth so quickly after the planet’s origin 4.5 billion years ago (and so quickly after the end of the Late Heavy Bombardment period in which Earth was being plummeted with asteroids).  It’s difficult enough to explain how life could have formed via natural means given 13.7 billion years, yet alone in just 300 million years as was required prior to this new discovery.  Of course, given the requirements for even the simplest life form coming together by chance, being given an extra 1.5 billion years to complete the job isn’t helpful.  It’s comparable to being told you have to build a house from scratch in 3 minutes, and then later being told your time has been extended to 18 minutes.  Big deal.  The house still won’t be finished in time.

On the other hand, this is bad news for materialists because it presents them with less time for life to have evolved into its variegated forms we see today.  Explaining how simple prokaryotic bacteria could evolve into an abundance of complex, eukaryotic life forms in just 3 billion years was difficult enough.  Taking away 2 billion years of productive work makes it much more difficult to achieve (or at least be believable).