Origin of Life

Origin of Life News -- ScienceDaily Research into the origin of life. Learn how certain small molecule interactions may have been responsible for the life itself. You will find scientific theories and findings here.

  • Ancient Egyptians to modern humans: Coronary artery disease genes benefit reproduction
    on June 22, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Researchers have found that genes for coronary heart disease (CAD) also influence reproduction, so in order to reproduce successfully, the genes for heart disease will also be inherited. […]

  • Fossil holds new insights into how fish evolved onto land
    on June 21, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    The fossil of an early snake-like animal -- called Lethiscus stocki -- has kept its evolutionary secrets for the last 340-million years. Now, an international team of researchers has revealed new insights into the ancient Scottish fossil that dramatically challenge our understanding of the early evolution of tetrapods, or four-limbed animals with backbones. […]

  • Reconstruction of ancient chromosomes offers insight into mammalian evolution
    on June 21, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    Researchers have gone back in time, at least virtually, computationally recreating the chromosomes of the first eutherian mammal, the long-extinct, shrewlike ancestor of all placental mammals. […]

  • Tiny fossils reveal backstory of the most mysterious amphibian alive
    on June 19, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    The fossils of an extinct species from the Triassic Period are the long-missing link that connects Kermit the Frog's amphibian brethren to wormlike creatures with a backbone and two rows of sharp teeth, new research shows. Named Chinlestegophis jenkinsi, the newfound fossil is the oldest relative of the most mysterious group of amphibians: caecilians. Today, these limbless, colorful serpentine carnivores live underground and range in size from 6 inches to 5 feet. […]

  • Ancient DNA reveals role of Near East and Egypt in cat domestication
    on June 19, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    DNA found at archaeological sites reveals that the origins of our domestic cat are in the Near East and ancient Egypt. Cats were domesticated by the first farmers some 10,000 years ago. They later spread across Europe and other parts of the world via trade hub Egypt. The DNA analysis also revealed that most of these ancient cats had stripes: spotted cats were uncommon until the Middle Ages. […]

  • Animal evolution: Hot start, followed by cold shock
    on June 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    The initial phases of animal evolution proceeded faster than hitherto supposed: New analyses suggest that the first animal phyla emerged in rapid succession -- prior to the global Ice Age that set in around 700 million years ago. […]

  • Healthy diet? That depends on your genes
    on June 12, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Shifts in the diets of Europeans after the introduction of farming 10,000 years ago led to genetic adaptations that favored the dietary trends of the time, new research indicates. The study has implications for the growing field of nutritional genomics, called nutrigenomics. Based on one's ancestry, clinicians may one day tailor each person's diet to her or his genome to improve health and prevent disease. […]

  • Reshaping Darwin's tree of life
    on June 7, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    In 1859, Charles Darwin included a novel tree of life in his trailblazing book on the theory of evolution, On the Origin of Species. Now, scientists want to reshape Darwin's tree. […]

  • Genetic study shakes up the elephant family tree
    on June 6, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    New research reveals that a species of giant elephant that lived 1.5 million to 100,000 years ago -- ranging across Eurasia before it went extinct -- is more closely related to today's African forest elephant than the forest elephant is to its nearest living relative, the African savanna elephant. Understanding elephant evolution is key to protecting present-day elephants from extinction, researchers say. […]

  • The first genome data from ancient Egyptian mummies
    on May 30, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    An international team has successfully recovered ancient DNA from Egyptian mummies dating from approximately 1400 BCE to 400 CE, including the first genome-wide nuclear data, establishing ancient Egyptian mummies as a reliable of ancient DNA. The study found that modern Egyptians share more ancestry with Sub-Saharan Africans than ancient Egyptians did. […]

  • Just how old are animals?
    on May 30, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    The origin of animals was one of the most important events in the history of Earth. Beautifully preserved fossil embryos suggest that our oldest ancestors might have existed a little more than half a billion years ago.&nbs […]

  • How dinosaurs may have evolved into birds
    on May 29, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    A possible genetic mechanism underlying the evolution of birds has been discovered by scientists. Studies of dinosaur fossils that show bird-like traits, such as feathers, light bones, air sacs and three-digit forelimbs, clarified evolutionary kinship of birds and dinosaurs. However, identifying genomic DNA changes during this evolutionary transition has remained a challenge. […]

  • Genomics tracks migration from lost empires to modern cities
    on May 28, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    New genomic tools are enabling researchers to overturn long-held beliefs about the origins of populations. Until recently, assumptions about origins were based on where people were buried, but this does not take into account the migrations that scientists now know took place thousands of years ago. […]

  • 'Tiny clocks' crystallize understanding of meteorite crashes
    on May 26, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    Scientists are using new imaging techniques to measure the atomic nanostructure of ancient crystal fragments at meteorite impact sites. The end goal? To understand when impacts ended and life began. […]

  • Knowledge gap on the origin of sex
    on May 26, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    There are significant gaps in our knowledge on the evolution of sex, according to a research review on sex chromosomes. Even after more than a century of study, researchers do not know enough about the evolution of sex chromosomes to understand how males and females emerge. […]

  • Ancient DNA evidence shows hunter-gatherers and farmers were intimately linked
    on May 25, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    In human history, the transition from hunting and gathering to farming is a significant one. As such, hunter-gatherers and farmers are usually thought about as two entirely different sets of people. But researchers reporting new ancient DNA evidence show that in the area we now recognize as Romania, at least, hunter-gatherers and farmers were living side by side, intermixing with each other, and having children. […]

  • Genetic mutation trade-offs lead to parallel evolution
    on May 23, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Researchers have shown how evolutionary dynamics proceed when selection acts on two traits governed by a trade-off. The results move the life sciences a step closer to understanding the full complexity of evolution at the cellular level. […]

  • Weathering of rocks a poor regulator of global temperatures
    on May 23, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Evidence from the age of the dinosaurs to today shows that chemical weathering of rocks is less sensitive to global temperature, and may depend on the steepness of the surface. The results call into question the role of rocks in setting our planet's temperature over millions of years. […]

  • Supercomputing helps researchers understand Earth's interior
    on May 23, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Geologists have created a computer model of tectonic activity so effective that they believe it has potential to predict where earthquakes and volcanoes will occur. Scientists focused on the deep mantle and its relationship to plate tectonics. […]

  • How RNA formed at the origins of life
    on May 19, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    A single process for how a group of molecules called nucleotides were made on the early Earth, before life began, has been suggested by a team of researchers. […]

  • Shedding light on Earth's first animals
    on May 17, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    More than 550 million years ago, the oceans were teeming with flat, soft-bodied creatures that fed on microbes and algae and could grow as big as bathmats. Today, researchers are studying their fossils to unlock the secrets of early life. Researchers now show that Dickinsonia developed in a complex, highly regulated way using a similar genetic toolkit to today's animals. […]

  • New study sheds light on origins of life on Earth through molecular function
    on May 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Debate exists over how life began on Earth, but a new study provides evidence for a 'metabolism-first' model. Scientists have traced the origins and evolution of molecular functions through time. The study shows metabolism and binding arose first, followed by the functional activities of larger macromolecules and cellular machinery. […]

  • Aftermath of supereruption shows Toba magma system's great size
    on May 16, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    The rare but spectacular eruptions of supervolcanoes can cause massive destruction and affect climate patterns on a global scale for decades -- and a new study has found that these sites also may experience ongoing, albeit smaller eruptions for tens of thousands of years after. […]

  • Grassy beginning for earliest Homo
    on May 15, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Following the discovery of the Ledi-Geraru jaw, an environmental study of the eastern African Plio-Pleistocene was conducted to investigate the long-standing hypotheses that the transition from Australopithecus to Homo was linked to the spread of more open and arid environments. […]

  • Jurassic drop in ocean oxygen lasted a million years
    on May 12, 2017 at 12:13 pm

    Dramatic drops in oceanic oxygen, which cause mass extinctions of sea life, come to a natural end -- but it takes about a million years. […]

  • Antibiotic-resistant microbes date back to 450 million years ago, well before the age of dinosaurs
    on May 11, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Leading hospital 'superbugs,' known as the enterococci, arose from an ancestor that dates back 450 million years -- about the time when animals were first crawling onto land (and well before the age of dinosaurs), according to a new study. […]

  • Oldest evidence of life on land found in 3.48 billion-year-old Australian rocks
    on May 9, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Fossils discovered in ancient hot spring deposits in the Pilbara have pushed back by 580 million years the earliest known evidence for microbial life on land. […]

  • Methane-munching microbes living in the deep biosphere for 400 million years: An analogue for...
    on May 9, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    It is becoming more and more appreciated that a major part of the biologic activity is not going on at the ground surface, but is hidden underneath the soil down to depths of several kilometres in an environment coined the "deep biosphere". Studies of life-forms in this energy-poor system have implications for the origin of life on our planet and for how life may have evolved on other planets, where hostile conditions may have inhibited colonization of the surface environment. The knowledge about ancient life in this environment deep under our feet is extremely scarce. […]

  • Earth was barren, flat and almost entirely under water 4.4 billion years ago
    on May 8, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Scientists say the early Earth was likely to be barren, flat and almost entirely under water with a few small islands, following their analysis of tiny mineral grains as old as 4.4 billion years. […]

  • Ancient proteins studied in detail
    on May 8, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    How did protein interactions arise and how have they developed? In a new study, researchers have looked at two proteins which began co-evolving between 400 and 600 million years ago. What did they look like? How did they work, and how have they changed over time? The findings show how a combination of changes in the proteins' properties created better conditions for the regulation of a cellular process. […]