As life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law which states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. Now geneticists, Alexei Sharov at the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore and his mate Richard Gordon at the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Florida, have extrapolated this trend backwards and found that by the measure of Moore's Law, life is older than the Earth itself.
The graph below shows the complexity of organisms, as measured by the length of functional non-redundant DNA per genome counted by nucleotide base pairs (bp), increases linearly with time (Sharov, 2012). Time is counted backwards in billions of years before the present (time 0).
Additionally they suggest that the evolution of advanced organisms has accelerated via development of additional information-processing systems: epigenetic memory, primitive mind, multicellular brain, language, books, computers, and Internet. As a result the doubling time of complexity has reached about every 20 years.
Sharov and Gordon also point out that astronomers believe that our Solar Nebula formed from the remnants of an earlier star, suggesting that life from this period might be preserved in the original gas, dust and ice clouds. In a form of Cosmic pansermia, life on Earth may be a continuation of a process that began many billions of years before the formation of our Solar System.
Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1304.3381: Life Before Earth
The Daily Galaxy via MIT Technology Review
Image credit: Chandra/Wickramasinghe