SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Did Life's First Cells Evolve in Geothermal Pools?
from Scientific American
Earth started as a violent place, its surface churned by continuous volcanic eruptions and
cloaked in an atmosphere that would have been poisonous to today's life-forms. Furthermore, the
thin primeval atmosphere may have provided only scant protection from the young sun's harsh
ultraviolet glare. Given these inhospitable conditions, scientists have long wondered: How did
the first cells come to be nearly four billion years ago?
Conventional scientific wisdom holds that life arose in the sea. But a new study suggests that
the first cells--or at least the ones that left descendants still extant--got their start in
geothermal pools, like those seen at Yellowstone National Park and other geologic hot spots
The argument rests on one indisputable observation--enzymes common to all archaea and bacteria
are built from potassium, phosphorus or zinc, not sodium.
Science in the Media
Magazines and Web Sites:
The Science-Media Intersection:
... for Sigma Xi SmartBrief, a free daily summary of the latest news in scientific research, delivered straight to your in-box. Each story is summarized concisely and linked directly to the original source for further reading.
Click here to subscribe.
Subscribe to Our Content!
Visit our RSS Feeds page to choose among 13 customized feeds, or create a free My AmSci account to request an email notice whenever a specified author, department or discipline appears online.