— Wonderful Life —

a unique planet

The origin of life

What is the origin of life? There's no quick answer to that question. Or is there? The origin may lie somewhere in a warm little pond, or in the black smokers in the ocean. In an old age known as the Archaean. 

Can you imagine a world without life? As far as we know, the countless other worlds in the universe are lifeless. Fascinating other planets and moons may appeal to the imagination, with methane or 'dry ice' seas, underground lakes, moving volcanoes and polar ice. But they are completely barren. There is no green, no singing birds, no flowers. As far as we know, the Earth is unique. But the building blocks of life are not limited to Earth. They are proven to occur in other places too. 

How did life form? And how did the building blocks of life evolve into more complex life forms? Which other organisms, now vanished, populated Earth? 

For more on Life, I recommend two books that I found revealing: 

  • Wonderful Life of paleontologist and master storyteller Stephen Jay Gould, on the explosion of life in Cambrian times (I liked it so much I used his title for this series)
  • Life on a young planet, by Andrew Knoll, on the origin of life and the evolution of Earth as a 'livable' planet.