Origins

  • The Iceland Diaries, Part 2
    Last June, a group of scientists visited Iceland, one of the most active volcanic places in the world. In some ways, Iceland resembles what the young Earth was like, so studying modern bacteria that colonize Iceland´s rocks may provide clues about early life.
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  • The Iceland Diaries
    Last June, a group of scientists visited Iceland, one of the most active volcanic places in the world. In some ways, Iceland resembles what the young Earth was like, so studying modern bacteria that colonize Iceland´s rocks may provide clues about early life.
    more...
  • Living on the Red Edge
    Researchers have sequenced the genome of a unique bacterium that uses a rare form of chlorophyll to harvest far-red light. It is the first chlorophyll-d containing organism to be sequenced, and will provide new information about the genetic evolution of life on Earth.
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  • 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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