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The fossil record goes back 3.5 billion years,
and most ancient fossils appear to have relied on photosynthesis. But, life dates back as far as 3.86 billion years (carbon-13 to carbon-12 ratios in ancient apatite
grains----anyone know what that means?)

Are you sure its apatite?

Anyway, what the whole deal is is that actual fossles did not appear before 3.45 BYA, but compounds that could only have been produced by living things were detectable in rocks as old as 3.86 BYA This means that life existed 410 million years before conditions alowed for the formation of fossles. The residue of life was leftover for detection by modern science. This would be archeabacteria only. nothing else would yet have existed.

That whole argument (mine) has nothing to do with evolution. It is just the geological\palentological timescale. This is a different scientific study than wheater or not life changes trhough time.
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