Recently in the Origin & Evolution of Life Category


Our understanding of when the very first animals started living on land is helped by identifying trace fossils--the tracks and trails left by ancient animals--in sedimentary rocks that were deposited on the continents.

One of the most fundamental unexplained questions in modern science is how life began. Scientists generally believe that simple molecules present in early planetary environments were converted to more complex ones that could have helped jumpstart life by the input of energy from the environment.

Microbes could have performed oxygen-producing photosynthesis at least one billion years earlier in the history of the Earth than previously thought.

New Clues About Old Life

Hundreds of millions of years before there was a chicken or an egg to debate, the first complex animals were evolving in parallel with Earth's rising oxygen levels.

Recently, many Earth-sized planets have been discovered around stars other than the Sun that might possess appropriate conditions for life.

How did life arise on Earth? Rutgers researchers have found among the first and perhaps only hard evidence that simple protein catalysts - essential for cells, the building blocks of life, to function - may have existed when life began.

Estimates of the time at which life arose on Earth make use of two types of evidence. First, astrophysical and geophysical studies provide a timescale for the formation of Earth and the Moon, for large impact events on early Earth, and for the cooling of the early magma ocean.

Why Life on Earth First Got Big

Some of the earliest complex organisms on Earth - possibly some of the earliest animals to exist - got big not to compete for food, but to spread their offspring as far as possible.

arth's first complex animals were an eclectic bunch that lived in the shallow oceans between 580-540 million years ago.

Research has shown that reactions of alpha-hydroxy acids, similar to the alpha-amino acids that make up modern proteins, form large polymers easily under conditions presumed prevalent on early Earth.