The origin of life on Earth has always been a mystery. Scientists have been looking to the stars for many years. They believed that an asteroid or comet was the source of the life-building blocks that led evolution on Earth. But now, some scientists say that the true origins of life on Earth might have been here on Earth the entire time.
A new paper shared in Science Advances, as well as a new article published on The Conversation, asks the question: “What if the origin of life on our planet was actually here the entire time?” It’s an intriguing approach to finding where life began on our planet, and the researchers involved say that the elements that made life possible – called volatiles – could have existed on Earth from the beginning.
Several elements are considered volatiles, including carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and a group of elements that researchers call chalcogens. These volatiles, including sulfur, tellurium and selenium are all more prone to evaporation than other elements. Understanding how these elements got into the Earth will also help us to understand the origins of life.
One of the most prevailing theories, known as the late veneer theory, says that Earth first formed from materials low in volatiles. However, higher concentrations of volatiles began to appear after volatile-rich bodies (meteorites, comets, asteroids) began to hit the planet’s surface, allowing it to form completely.
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The problem with this theory, though, is that these volatile-rich objects only brought around half a percent of the Earth’s mass. These elements wouldn’t have been present until after the Earth’s core formed. The new research, on the other hand, says that Earth had these volatiles all alone, and that the life-essential elements were here from the beginning, during the planet’s earliest formation. According to researchers, the study is also consistent with another study that traces the origins of water on Earth. It’s certainly an interesting idea and one that could provide more understanding of the origin of life on Earth as scientists continue to study it.
The post Origin of life on Earth might not have come from the stars after all appeared first on BGR.