Origins

  • Animals Making Tracks
    The fossilized trail of an aquatic creature suggests that animals walked using legs at least 30 million years earlier than had been thought. Scientists once thought that it was primarily microbes and simple multicellular animals that existed prior to the Cambrian, but studies like
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  • Short RNAs Have a Long History
    MicroRNAs are tiny molecules used to fine-tune how genes are expressed. Now scientists are beginning to understand the early evolution of these important molecules and how they have affected the evolution of life on our planet.
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  • Breathing Like a Bird
    The remains of a unique dinosaur discovered in Argentina are helping scientists understand the connections between dinosaurs and birds. The study sheds light on an important moment in the evolution of life on our planet.
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  • Digging up Ancient Microbes
    Limestone from Namibia has biomarkers that indicate a community of microbes oxidized methane at least 300 million years ago. Such biomarkers can provide clues to the history of life on Earth, and could help scientists search for signs of life on other worlds.
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  • Swashbuckling Scientists Discover Northern Vents
    From Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition is a story of how researchers recently explored the ocean floor between Greenland and Norway. They discovered hydrothermal vents that support an extremophile ecosystem. The find supports the idea that biological communities could exist on other worlds.
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  • Luck Gave Dinosaurs an Edge
    A new study shows that early dinosaurs survived two mass extinctions before they became dominant on Earth. Interestingly, it appears that their survival may have been based on luck alone.
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  • Ratio is All in the Timing
    A new study of carbon in seafloor sediments is helping scientists better understand the timing of life's origin on Earth. The findings may also change our assumptions about the history of Earth's carbon cycle.
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  • When Microbes Move In
    A team working high in the Peruvian Andes has discovered how microbes swiftly colonize barren soils uncovered by melting glaciers. The study shows how microbes are able to establish themselves in one of Earth's most extreme environments, and how these unique organisms are adapting to
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  • What Came First: Viruses or Cells?
    A new computational method for tracing the evolution of proteins may help scientists determine how life on Earth began…and solve the question of whether or not viruses developed before living cells.
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  • Primitive Pancake
    In sequencing the genome of a primitive animal, scientists are gaining new insights into the tree of life. Even though it´s a simple animal, Trichoplax adhaerens has a complex set of genes and may signify a branching point in animal evolution.
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  • Through a Glass Darkly
    New from the Nordic issue of Astrobiology Magazine, European Edition: Just as stained glass windows that decorate the world´s most beautiful cathedrals depict stories, ancient life may have its own tales to tell in glass.
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  • Water Ideas are All Wet
    Scientists have discovered that water, a molecule essential for life as we know it, is not as well understood as we thought. The study adds to our understanding of water's role in the origin and survival of life on Earth.
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  • Life in a Bubble
    Scientists have discovered how insects can use a bubble of air as an 'external lung' to breathe underwater. The study highlights a unique way in which organisms on Earth have evolved in response to their environment.
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  • 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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