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Researchers discovered that the gas giant, which has only existed for a million years in our solar system, spent no time developing into a dominant, gigantic planet. Earth probably wouldn't have developed tens of millions of years after Jupiter fused without the giant planet's influence.

According to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the meteorites strewn over Earth are proof of Jupiter's early origin. As the chaotic, young solar system was coming together, the two different types of these space rocks, which also formed early, were held apart by an immense force due to their dissimilar compositions. Scientists believe Jupiter to be the most likely offender.

Future motions of Jupiter may impact Earth's tilt, drastically reducing its habitability.

Although an estimated 8.7 million species are on Earth, large portions of its polar regions are sparsely populated.

"If Jupiter's position remained the same, but the shape of its orbit changed, it could increase this planet's habitability," said UCR Earth and planetary scientist and study lead author Pam Vervoort (via Forbes).

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