Nobody knows exactly how life and later multicellular life came to be. Some scientists defend the most probable theory stating that it happened in what is commonly known as the “Primordial Soup”. A kind of a chemical melting pot where for yet unknown reasons simple organic molecules started forming more complex molecules including nucleic acids. These nucleic acids are central to lfe and present in DNA and RNA.
There are multiple papers about the oldest multicellular organism ever found on earth. It was found in Gabon in the region of Franceville. These multicellular organisms are around 2 billion years old. It is the oldest form of complex life on earth.
As we were researching for the film “The Africologist”, we came across another strange phenomenon that happened in Gabon, the only nuclear fission reactor that ever existed in nature. While mining for Uranium in the 1970ies scientists discovered that for some reason nuclear fission happened in a natural way for a period of a few hundred thousand years in in Oklo, Gabon, thats also in the region of Franceville, where the oldest multicellular organisms that we mentioned above have been discovered.
“Mother nature” created a nuclear reactor and was “producing energy”, including all the bi-products, mostly radioactive.
The nuclear reaction happened because water started filling a cave containing U235 in concentrations high enough to lead to fission, this triggered a chain reaction regulated and stabilised by the surrounding water…
According to estimations, this happened also 2.1 billion years ago.
So the question we ask in the film is what if there is a connection between the Natural Nuclear reactor in Oslo and the Francevillian Biota? After all both events happened in Gabon a relatively short time frame from each other; and the methods used to date both events always have relatively high margins of errors.
What if radioactivity played a role in the evolution of cells to become multicellular? Radioactivity breaks down the chemical bonds and splits large molecules, so it can seem “destructive” to life, but it also provides the energy needed to generate some of lifes’ crucial building blocks.
While there are theories that link radioactivity to the origins of life, there seem to be no research done on the subject linking the two phenomena in Gabon. The multicellular fossils found in Gabon are the oldest on earth and to me there seem to be a high probability of a link.
Asking “what if” hypothetically is not scientific validation, we are pointing out a possible case to be investigated.