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The History of Life on Earth
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Slide 1

Lost Worlds

Lost Worlds

Past organisms were very different from those now alive.

The fossil record shows macroevolutionary changes over large time scales including

The emergence of terrestrial vertebrates

The origin of photosynthesis

Long-term impacts of mass extinctions.

Slide 2

MacroEvolution: Large Scale Changes Over Time

MacroEvolution: Large Scale Changes Over Time

Slide 3

Concept 25.1: Conditions on early Earth made the origin of life possible

Concept 25.1: Conditions on early Earth made the origin of life possible

Chemical and physical processes on early Earth may have produced very simple cells through a sequence of stages:

1. Abiotic synthesis of small organic molecules.

2. Joining of these small molecules into macromolecules.

3. Packaging of molecules into protobionts.

4. Origin of self-replicating molecules.

Slide 4

Synthesis of Organic Compounds on Early Earth

Synthesis of Organic Compounds on Early Earth

Earth formed about 4.6 billion years ago, along with the rest of the solar system.

Earths early atmosphere likely contained water vapor and chemicals released by volcanic eruptions (nitrogen, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide).

A. I. Oparin and J. B. S. Haldane hypothesized that the early atmosphere was a reducing environment.

Stanley Miller and Harold Urey conducted lab experiments that showed that the abiotic synthesis of organic molecules in a reducing atmosphere is possible.

Slide 5

However, the evidence is not yet convincing that the early atmosphere was in fact reducing.

However, the evidence is not yet convincing that the early atmosphere was in fact reducing.

Instead of forming in the atmosphere, the first organic compounds may have been synthesized near submerged volcanoes and deep-sea vents.

Amino acids have also been found in meteorites.

Slide 6

Deep Sea Vents

Deep Sea Vents

Slide 7

Abiotic Synthesis of Macromolecules Monomers --> Polymers

Abiotic Synthesis of Macromolecules Monomers --> Polymers

Small organic molecules polymerize when they are concentrated on hot sand, clay, or rock.

Replication and metabolism are key properties of life.

Protobionts are aggregates of abiotically produced molecules surrounded by a membrane or membrane-like structure.

Protobionts exhibit simple reproduction and metabolism and maintain an internal chemical environment.

Slide 8

Experiments demonstrate that protobionts could have formed spontaneously from abiotically produced organic compounds.

Experiments demonstrate that protobionts could have formed spontaneously from abiotically produced organic compounds.

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