This could help explain how dark matter shaped newly-formed galaxies.

Older Than Time

Bizarre new research suggests that dark matter — the elusive, invisible substance thought to make up most of the matter in the universe — could be older than the Big Bang.

If dark matter emerged from the Big Bang, then past experiments trying to directly observe the stuff probably would have succeeded, according to research published in the journal American Physical Society on Wednesday. Since all those experiments failed to do so, scientists argue that dark matter likely preceded the Big Bang, originating from a period of time called the "cosmic inflation."

Origin Story

The study provides a new explanation for how dark matter helped shape luminous matter — that's everything we can see and touch — into galaxies. In short, it may have just gotten there first.

"If dark matter were truly a remnant of the Big Bang, then in many cases researchers should have seen a direct signal of dark matter in different particle physics experiments already," Johns Hopkins University physicist and astronomer Tommi Tenkanen said in a press release.

Looking Back

If the research holds up, it could help scientists finally track down dark matter and better understand what things were like before the universe came to be.

"If dark matter consists of new particles that were born before the Big Bang, they affect the way galaxies are distributed in the sky in a unique way," Tenkanen said. "This connection may be used to reveal their identity and make conclusions about the times before the Big Bang too."

READ MORE: Dark Matter May Be Older Than The Big Bang, Study Suggests [Johns Hopkins University]

More on dark matter: An Oxford Scientist May Have Solved the Mystery of Dark Matter

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