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.

  • Enhancing our vision of the past
    on December 5, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    Scientists have advanced our understanding of how ancient animals saw the world by combining the study of fossils and genetics. […]

  • Life has a new ingredient
    on December 3, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Our prehistoric Earth, bombarded with asteroids and lightening, rife with bubbling geothermal pools, may not seem hospitable today. But somewhere in the chemical chaos of our early planet, life did form. How? For decades, scientists have created miniature replicas of infant Earth in the lab in order to hunt for life's essential ingredients. Now, one of those replicas points to a possible new ingredient in the world's first RNA. […]

  • In death, Lonesome George reveals why giant tortoises live so long
    on December 3, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Genetic analysis of DNA from Lonesome George and samples from other giant tortoises of the Galapagos -- which can live more than 100 years in captivity -- found they possessed a number of gene variants linked to DNA repair, immune response, and cancer suppression not possessed by shorter-lived vertebrates. […]

  • Whales lost their teeth before evolving hair-like baleen in their mouths
    on November 29, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    Rivaling the evolution of feathers in dinosaurs, one of the most extraordinary transformations in the history of life was the evolution of baleen -- rows of flexible hair-like plates that blue whales, humpbacks and other marine mammals use to filter relatively tiny prey from gulps of ocean water. Now, scientists have discovered an important intermediary link in the evolution of this innovative feeding strategy: an ancient whale that had neither teeth nor baleen. […]

  • New study reveals common table salt may have been crucial for the origins of life
    on November 29, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    It remains unknown how life began on Earth. It is believed that simple molecules in the early environment became complexified by the input of ambient energy. Researchers found that compounds useful for the synthesis of RNA are produced with the help of sodium chloride - table salt. This work may provide insight on how RNA arose abiotically on early Earth. […]

  • Fossil algae reveal 500 million years of climate change
    on November 28, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Scientists have succeeded in developing a new indicator (proxy) of ancient CO2 levels, using the organic molecule phytane, a debris product of chlorophyll. This new organic proxy not only provides the most continuous record of CO2 concentrations ever, it also breaks a record in its time span, covering half a billion years. […]

  • Fires fueled spread of grasslands on ancient Earth
    on November 28, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Ancient wildfires played a crucial role in the formation and spread of grasslands like those that now cover large parts of the Earth. […]

  • Oxygen could have been available to life as early as 3.5 billion years ago
    on November 27, 2018 at 6:15 pm

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

  • First ancient DNA from mainland Finland reveals origins of Siberian ancestry in region
    on November 27, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    A new study shows that the genetic makeup of northern Europe traces back to migrations from Siberia that began at least 3,500 years ago and that, as recently as the Iron Age, ancestors of the Saami lived in a larger area of Finland than today. […]

  • Could yesterday's Earth contain clues for making tomorrow's medicines?
    on November 20, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    Researchers described initial steps toward achieving chemistries that encode information in a variety of conditions that might mimic the environment of prehistoric Earth. […]

  • Jumping genes shed light on how advanced life may have emerged
    on November 19, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    A previously unappreciated interaction in the genome turns out to have possibly been one of the driving forces in the emergence of advanced life. This discovery began with a curiosity for retrotransposons, known as ''jumping genes,'' which are DNA sequences that copy and paste themselves within the genome, multiplying rapidly. Researchers inserted a retrotransposon into bacteria, and the results could give depth to the history of how advanced life may have emerged billions of years ago. […]

  • Climate change likely caused migration, demise of ancient Indus Valley civilization
    on November 15, 2018 at 4:48 am

    A new study found evidence that climate change likely drove the Harappans to resettle far away from the floodplains of the Indus. […]

  • Late Miocene ape maxilla (upper jaw) discovered in western India
    on November 14, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    An ape maxilla (upper jaw) from the Late Miocene found in the Kutch basin, in western India, significantly extends the southern range of ancient apes in the Indian Peninsula, according to a new study. […]

  • Primates of the Caribbean: Ancient DNA reveals history of mystery monkey
    on November 13, 2018 at 12:16 am

    Analysis of ancient DNA of a mysterious extinct monkey named Xenothrix -- which displays bizarre body characteristics very different to any living monkey -- has revealed that it was in fact most closely related to South America's titi monkeys (Callicebinae). Having made their way overwater to Jamaica, probably on floating vegetation, their bones reveal they subsequently underwent remarkable evolutionary change. […]

  • Stripping the linchpins from the life-making machine reaffirms its seminal evolution
    on November 12, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    This experiment had a good chance of crashing. Instead, it delivered whopping evidence to corroborate the earliest evolution of the translational system, the mechanisms which make life out of our genes. The study swapped out all its magnesium, tabula rasa, and showed that the system, centering on the ribosome, would have thrived basically as it is today 4 billion years ago at the earliest foundations of life on Earth. […]

  • The new face of South American people
    on November 9, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Study by 72 researchers from eight countries concludes that the Lagoa Santa people are descendants of Clovis culture migrants from North America. Distinctly African features attributed to Luzia were wrong. […]

  • A toast to the proteins in dinosaur bones
    on November 9, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Burnt toast and dinosaur bones have a common trait, according to a new study. They both contain chemicals that, under the right conditions, transform original proteins into something new. It's a process that may help researchers understand how soft-tissue cells inside dinosaur bones can survive for hundreds of millions of years. […]

  • Ancient DNA evidence reveals two unknown migrations from North to South America
    on November 8, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    A team has used genome-wide ancient DNA data to revise Central and South American history. Their analysis of DNA from 49 individuals spanning about 10,000 years in Belize, Brazil, the Central Andes, and southern South America has concluded that the majority of Central and South American ancestry arrived from at least three different streams of people entering from North America, all arising from one ancestral lineage of migrants who crossed the Bering Strait. […]

  • History of early settlement and survival in Andean highlands revealed by ancient genomes
    on November 8, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    A multi-center study of the genetic remains of people who settled thousands of years ago in the Andes Mountains of South America reveals a complex picture of human adaptation from early settlement, to a split about 9,000 years ago between high and lowland populations, to the devastating exposure to European disease in the 16th-century colonial period. […]

  • DNA of world's oldest natural mummy unlocks secrets of Ice Age tribes in the Americas
    on November 8, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    A wide ranging international study that genetically analysed the DNA of a series of famous and controversial ancient remains across North and South America has discovered that the Spirit Cave remains -- the world's oldest natural mummy - was a Native American. They were also able to dismiss a longstanding theory that a group called Paleoamericans existed in North America before Native Americans. […]

  • Broad genome analysis shows yeasts evolving by subtraction
    on November 8, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    An unprecedented comparison of hundreds of species of yeasts has helped geneticists brew up an expansive picture of their evolution over the last hundreds of millions of years, including an analysis of the way they evolved individual appetites for particular food sources that may be a boon to biofuels research. […]

  • The teeth of Changchunsaurus: Rare insight into ornithopod dinosaur tooth evolution
    on November 7, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    The teeth of Changchunsaurus parvus, a small herbivorous dinosaur from the Cretaceous of China, represent an important and poorly-known stage in the evolution of ornithopod dentition, according to a study. […]

  • RNA microchips: A new chapter in ribonucleic acid synthesis
    on November 6, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is, along with DNA and protein, one of the three primary biological macromolecules and was probably the first to arise in early life forms. Chemists have developed a new synthetic approach that allows RNA to be chemically synthesized about a million times more efficiently than previously possible. […]

  • Origin of the periodicity of the genome explained
    on November 2, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Scientists have researched what might have favored the periodicity of certain base pairs in the genomes of eukaryotic organisms. […]

  • How cancer-causing papillomaviruses evolved
    on November 2, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    Cancer-causing human papillomaviruses (HPVs) diverged from their most recent common ancestors approximately half a million years ago, roughly coinciding with the timing of the split between archaic Neanderthals and modern Homo sapiens, according to a new study. […]

  • Mystery of the 'bird from Atlantis' solved
    on November 1, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    The world's smallest flightless bird can be found on Inaccessible Island in the middle of the South Atlantic. Less than 100 years ago, researchers believed that this species of bird once wandered there on land extensions now submerged in water, and therefore named it Atlantisia. The researchers have now shown that the ancestors of the Atlantisia flew to Inaccessible Island from South America about 1.5 million years ago. […]

  • Major corridor of Silk Road already home to high-mountain herders over 4,000 years ago
    on October 31, 2018 at 6:14 pm

    Long before the formal creation of the Silk Road, pastoral herders living in the mountains of Central Asia helped form new cultural and biological links across the region, new research shows. […]

  • Synthetic microorganisms allow scientists to study ancient evolutionary mysteries
    on October 29, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Scientists have created microorganisms that may recapitulate key features of organisms thought to have lived billions of years ago. […]

  • Sweet discovery pushes back the origins of chocolate
    on October 29, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    As Halloween revelers prepare to feast on chocolate, a new study from an international team of researchers is pushing back the origins of the delicious sweet treat. […]

  • New species of ‘missing link’ between dinosaurs and birds identified
    on October 25, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Researchers have identified a new species of Archaeopteryx that is closer to modern birds in evolutionary terms. […]