Charles Darwin's Theory On Where Life Began Contested By New Research


Researchers have revealed that life on Earth began in deep-sea hydrothermal vents, as opposed to Darwin's theory that life started in a ‘warm little pond’

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Updated On:
Charles Darwin

Was Charles Darwin wrong about the origins of life on earth?

While theologists have often pondered on this, scientists recently have questioned the same. According to international reports, researchers have revealed that life began in deep-sea hydrothermal vents, as opposed to Darwin's theory that life started in a ‘warm little pond’. Scientists from University College London now claim that there are multiple competing theories as to where and how life started.

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Deep-sea vents - where life started?

Explaining the new research, Professor Nick Lane of University College London(UCL) has stated, "Underwater hydrothermal vents are among the most promising locations for life’s beginnings", in an interview. He added that his team's findings provide solid experimental evidence to the 'multiple theories to life origins'. Lane's team of researchers believe that deep-sea vents had the appropriate heat and chemical composition to trigger life on earth.

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How did the researcher prove the theory?

Hydrothermal sea vents - where some of the world’s oldest fossils have been found- are defined as underwater structures where seawater comes into contact with minerals from the planet's crust. This interaction creates a warm, alkaline environment containing hydrogen. The researchers at UCL's experiments have successfully created self-assembling protocells in an environment similar to that of hydrothermal vents.

One of Lane's team members Dr. Sean Jordan stated, "In our experiments, we have created one of the essential components of life under conditions that are more reflective of ancient environments than many other laboratory studies. We still don't know where life first formed, but our study shows that you cannot rule out the possibility of deep-sea hydrothermal vents," in an interview. This research has opened new avenues to finding where life on earth first started.

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What is the scope of this research?

Extending the research beyond Earth, scientists have claimed that deep-sea hydrothermal vents are not unique to Earth. Lane has claimed that similar hydrothermal vents exist in the seas on the icy moons of Saturn and Jupiter, as discovered by various space missions. He claimed that while life has not been discovered as of yet on these planets, his team's research may help in pinpointing where to look for life on these planets.

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