Origin and evolution of life

    • Studying Evolution with Digital Organisms
      Can we grasp the workings of Darwinian evolution by studying the behavior of digital organisms that exist only as strings of computer code? Scientists in Caltech's Digital Life Laboratory think so.
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    • Evolution’s Sweet Tooth
      How did intelligence evolve? A scientist studying differences between humans and great apes may have found a biochemical step in that direction.
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    • Encore
      Our debate panelists answer reader's questions about the possibility of complex life beyond Earth.
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    • Weird Life on the Mats
      Do extinct species represent failed evolutionary experiments? At least for some more closely related to today's crabs and lobsters, University of Southern California scientist David Bottjer says that if many such early animals look strange to us, it is not because they were strange.
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    • Cosmic Imperative for Life?
      Life began on Earth almost as soon as it was possible, almost as soon as the intense early bombardment by asteroids and comets tapered off and a stable environment emerged. Is this evidence for a chemical inevitability for spawning biology?
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    • Eukaryotic Origins: Revolution in the Classification of Life
      The most recent classification of all life on Earth includes three domains: Archaea, Bacteria (also called Eubacteria) and Eukarya, each of which contains a number of kingdoms.
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    • New Species and Understanding Earth
      Recognition of other worlds, of other ways of living, of being, of seeing, of thinking-that's regarded as a great moment in the history of our species, as great as leaving the oceans to come up on the land.
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    • Defining Life
      What is life, exactly? This is a question that keeps biologists up at night. The science of biology is the study of life, yet scientists can't agree on an absolute definition. What about a computer program that learns and evolves? Can a wild fire -
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    • The Cambrian Explosion: Tooth and Claw
      Scientists ponder the causes of the Cambrian explosion.
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    • A Pothole in the Road of Life
      Desert potholes may provide clues to the evolution of life on Earth.
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    • Unfamiliar Life
      Why should the particular polymer combinations of Earth reign supreme?
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    • Evolution’s Double Take
      The origin of hydrogenosomes has been debated for some time. Some researchers believe that hydrogenosomes have repeatedly evolved from mitochondria in the course of evolution.
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    • Genetic Alchemy: Turning Lobsters into Fruit Flies
      Biologists at the University of California, San Diego, now have genetic evidence that explains how such drastic alterations to body plans were able to occur during the early evolution of animals.
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    • Clues to the Last Common Ancestor
      Molecular detectives have traced human ancestry back to the so-called Mitochondrial Eve, the last female common ancestor. More recent research has posited a Y-chromosome Adam, the last male common ancestor.
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    • Uranus and Neptune – and the Origin of Life on Earth
      Constraints on the giant planets and birth aggregates of the solar system.
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