Origin and evolution of life

  • New research supports the idea that microorganisms embedded in the fragments of distant planets may have traveled to the early Earth and seeded our planet with life.
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  • Scientists have discovered an unusual symbiosis between tiny single-celled algae and highly specialized bacteria in the ocean.
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  • In order to understand how life began on Earth, researchers are creating concoctions of organics on ice and zapping them with lasers. The study provides the first look at organic chemistry on icy particles in the frigid reaches of our solar system.
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  • Sixty-five million years ago, a mass extinction on Earth wiped out the dinosaurs. New research now indicates that a separate extinction event occurred shortly before that, triggered by volcanic eruptions that warmed the planet.
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  • A new study of giant viruses supports the idea that viruses are ancient living organisms. The study could have important implications in our understanding of the origin and evolution of life on Earth.
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  • A new study shows how tiny sea creatures called rhabdopleurids have survived for more than 500 million years and outlasted more elaborate species that descended from a common ancestor.
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  • A paleontologist has confirmed that two nodosaurs walked through the campus of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. They left their prints sometime between 110 and 112 million years ago.
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  • Phosphorus is vital to life on Earth, even though our planet doesn't provide life very much phosphorus to work with. Scientists are now studying how phosphorus biochemistry may have originated at the dawn of life.
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  • A new study has uncovered fundamental details about the hexamer structures that make up the tiniest droplets of water.
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  • A new study suggests that the increased efficiency of dividing tasks among different individuals may explain a key transition in evolutionary history, from single-celled to multi-celled organisms.
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