Origins

  • Dinosaur Digestion
    Scientists are trying to determine which plants dinosaurs dined on more than 100 million years ago. Their findings could help us understand the environmental and physiological conditions that allowed dinosaurs to grow so large.
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  • The Birth of Birds
    Molecular evidence indicates that modern birds may have originated 100 million years ago - before the demise of the dinosaurs. The finding touches on current questions about which scientific methods are most useful in studying the evolution of life on Earth.
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  • Life’s Link to Lost City
    New research shows that molecules important for the origin of life are generated by simple interactions between seawater and hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. The findings support the theory that such vents may have played a role in life's beginnings on Earth.
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  • Telepathic Genes
    Scientists have discovered that genes have the ability to recognize similarities in each other from a distance and without other biological molecules aiding in the process. The unique discovery may help explain how similar genes group together and perform key processes involved in evolution.
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  • Making Artificial Bacteria
    A team of researchers has created the largest man-made DNA structure by assembling the 582,970 base pare genome of a bacterium. The achievement could yield important clues about the fundamentals of life as we know it.
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  • Life from the Abyss
    In this interview, Nigel Mason explains how molecules formed in space might eventually lead to life, and describes what scientists are doing to better understand this process.
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  • Liquid Locked in Ice
    A team of scientists has begun exploring an ancient lake hidden 3.2 km beneath Antarctica's ice sheet. Lake Ellsworth could harbor unique microbial life and might provide clues about climate change on Earth.
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  • Slugs with Armor
    A new fossil specimen has helped solve an evolutionary puzzle about the origins of an extinct group of slug-like animals. The finding is providing insights into annelid evolution on Earth, and highlights how the study of paleobiology can help scientists understand the evolution of our
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  • News_Image_318
    A protein from a primitive fungus has provided scientists with important insights into how life evolved from the simple to the complex. The finding is allowing scientists to understand how the inter-relations between important functional molecules in organisms developed over time.
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  • The Avalon Explosion
    Scientists have identified a new period in Earth´s history where life experienced an evolutionary explosion. Dubbed the ‘Avalon Explosion´, this period occurred about 33 million years prior to the previously identified ‘Cambrian Explosion´, and sheds further light on the early evolution of animals.
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  • What Bugged the Dinosaurs
    Asteroid impacts and massive volcanic flows occurred around the time dinosaurs became extinct, but a new book argues that the world´s mightiest creatures may have been brought down by tiny, disease-carrying insects.
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  • Astrobiology Top 10: When Fungi Ruled the World
    Astrobiology Magazine is looking back over 2007, highlighting the Top 10 astrobiology stories of the year. At number 6 is the discovery that 420 million years ago, fungi stood as tall as trees, reaching up to 20 feet in height.
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  • Astrobiology Top 10: Brought Back to Life
    Astrobiology Magazine is looking back over 2007, highlighting the Top 10 astrobiology stories of the year. At number 8 is the recovery of DNA from ancient microorganisms. The DNA showed an "exponential decline" after 1.1 million years, indicating how long DNA could be preserved
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  • Life at Hell’s Gate
    A new species of bacteria has been discovered in a geothermal field in New Zealand known as 'Hell's Gate'. The bacteria is the hardiest 'methanotrophic' bacteria yet discovered, and may help in the fight against global warming.
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  • Molecules in Mica
    A new hypothesis describes how life may have begun in ancient oceans, protected inside layers of the mineral mica. These narrow, confined spaces may have provided the perfect conditions for the origin of biomolecules.
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