Photosynthesis could be as old as life itself. Researchers find that the earliest bacteria had the tools to perform a crucial step in photosynthesis, changing how we think life evolved on Earth.
The finding also challenges expectations for how life might have evolved on other planets. The evolution of photosynthesis that produces oxygen is thought to be the key factor in the eventual emergence of complex life. This was thought to take several billion years to evolve, but if in fact the earliest life could do it, then other planets may have evolved complex life much earlier than previously thought.