Origins

  • From Dinosaurs to Slime
    In 2005, researchers thought they had discovered the remains of dinosaur blood vessels and cells protected inside the bones of a T-Rex. A new study shows that the soft tissue may be biofilms formed by bacteria.
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  • Ancient Footprints in the Salt
    Scientists have discovered fibers from ancient organisms preserved inside salt crystals in New Mexico. The surprising finding could help astrobiologists search for signs of life on other planets.
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  • Reading Archaean Biosignatures
    A high-precision atom-counter called NanoSIMS produces maps of key biological atoms and suggests new way to analyze possible biosignatures from the beginning of life.
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  • The Deep Dark Biosphere
    Scientists have shown evidence that microbes living deep below the oceans of Earth make up a carbon reserve of about 90 billion tons. The study highlights the abundance and importance of microbes on Earth.
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  • Stars of the Deep
    Researchers studying life deep beneath the Earth's surface in a South African platinum mine have discovered microbes with a unique appearance. In fact, these tiny bacteria are the 'stars' of their community.
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  • Song from the Past
    Scientists have discovered that the neural network behind sound production in vertebrates can be traced back to marine organisms. The finding provides a unique perspective on life's evolutionary mechanisms.
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  • Machine Evolution
    Many scientists believe that life started out as nothing more than strands of proto-genetic material known as RNA. A new device automates studies of RNA evolution and could lend insights into the origin of life on Earth.
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  • RNA World Remnant
    A new study has shown bacterial cells can perform a number of tasks without the involvement of DNA. The findings provide a glimpse into what the earliest forms of life on Earth may have looked like.
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  • Early Diversity
    A new study has found that, contrary to a long-held belief, marine species diversified early in history rather than becoming more diverse with time.
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  • Pondering the Planet of the Apes
    In this interview, Charley Lineweaver explains how the movie "Planet of the Apes" is based on a flawed notion of evolution. Understanding this, he says, has implications for our search for life elsewhere in the universe.
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  • Making Heads or Tails of Early Life
    Researchers have modeled a primitive cell, or protocell, that is capable of building, copying and containing DNA. The study could help us understand how the earliest cells on Earth formed and evolved.
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  • Making Sense of Mars Methane
    Research on methane at a Mexican salt flat could help reveal the source of methane that has been detected in the atmosphere of Mars. But first scientists have to decipher the unique – and seemingly contradictory - isotopic signature of the Mexican methane.
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  • How Low Can Life Go?
    A novel, ultra-small bacterial species has been found at a depth of nearly two miles within the ice of a Greenland glacier. The ability of this organism to survive in such a unique environment will help us understand how life could survive elsewhere in the
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  • Swimming in the Gene Pool
    Scientists have discovered numerous pieces of foreign DNA in the genome of a freshwater animal. The study sheds new light on the mechanisms behind the evolution of life.
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  • Seafloor Buffet
    Seafloor bacteria are more abundant and diverse than previously thought. The new finding is shedding light on how life has co-evolved with planet Earth.
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