Canberra: Australian scientists have found evidence of an ancient Himalaya-like mountain range that they believe sustained the start of life on earth 600 million years ago.
The scientists from Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra said the range was similar in scale to the Himalayas and spanned at least 2,500 km across the top of Africa, from west Africa to Brazil, which at that time were part of the Gondwanaland supercontinent, Xinhua reported Thursday.
They were helped in their project by a Brazilian researcher, Carlos Ganade de Araujo, from the University of Sao Paolo, who recently collected valuable rock and mineral samples from this area in Africa.
Like the Himalayas, the mountain range eroded intensely because of its size and the sediment which washed into the oceans provided "the perfect nutrients for life to flourish", according to Daniela Rubatto of the Research School of Earth Sciences at ANU.
"Scientists have speculated that such a large mountain range must have been feeding the oceans because of the way life thrived and ocean chemistry changed at this time, and finally we have found it," she said.
The discovery is the earliest evidence of Himalayan-scale mountains on earth.
"Although the mountains have long since washed away, rocks from their roots told the story of the ancient mountain range's grandeur," said co-researcher at ANU, Joerg Hermann.