How did life form from non-living matter (abiogenesis)?

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How did life form from non-living matter (abiogenesis)?

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5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

The great big question.

Nobody knows, I’m afraid!

Life is incredibly complex. Some can argue that even though it is so complex, given *billions* of years on Earth, at some point it should spontaneously manifest. Just by pure chance.

Others may argue that it’s still too farfetched. Panspermia is one alternative theory. It suggests that Earth was “infected” with life from outer space. For example through bacteria which survived traveling on meteorites. This would give us the whole solar system, and maybe even further, to consider our boiling pot for spontaneous life, increasing the chances of it occurring.

But still that pushes the question one step further. How did it start *originally*?

Scientists have tried to recreate the conditions of early Earth in labs to see what comes out of the primordial soup. While they saw some interesting molecules being formed, they never came close to creating life.

Some argue that life is trivial. It will occur anywhere the conditions are met, given some time. It’s just natural, because the arrangement of molecules which turn into life is more energetically favorable. So it’s physics, and no “mystery”.

Religious people may see this as proof of divine intervention. The origin of life is often “explained” in religious texts.

Naturally, more wilder alternative theories such as alien intervention have been proposed.

In the end though, nobody has ever observed life being formed from inanimate materials, so the question remains open.

PS. Note that, the Theory of Evolution never attempts to explain the *origin* of life.

Anonymous 0 Comments

You get a nobel prize if you can answer this question precisely.

We know that lipid bubbles that sort of resemble cell membranes form naturally, and we know that the ancient oceans were filled with simple amino acids that could randomly combine to make all manner of structures.

Presumably one such structure was self-replicating, and then the race is on, but we’ve never been able to replicate it in a lab.

Of course Earth had vast oceans and millions of years to try combinations and get that trillion-to-one shot at a self-replicating protein. It’s a lot harder to get it right in a test tube over a long weekend.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Good question!

…and that’s all we’ve got. No one has an answer yet.

There’s a Nobel Prize waiting for whoever figures it out!

Anonymous 0 Comments

We don’t know, but we’re working on it

One thing we have discovered is that organic compounds like amino acids seem to form naturally when the conditions are right. The basic building blocks of life seem to be common place in the universe.

In the ancient oceans of earth, where there was a high mineral content and a lot of heat, these acids and other molecules possibly formed in large quantities and eventually random interactions created RNA.

Life may have started and died off thousands or millions of times until random chance created molecules of the right combination to self-replicate.

If that’s the case then the formation of life may be trivial, meaning that it’s just a side effect of being in our universe.

Anonymous 0 Comments

We don’t know. It’s one of the great open questions in science right now.

We have some hypotheses about how it started, but right now they’re all on the level of, “Well, this *could* have happened…” Basically, we’ve managed to produce many of the precursors to life (lipids, amino acids, RNA, proto-proteins) in laboratory conditions that we *think* mimic the environment of early Earth.

But even if we do manage to completely mimic that, and even if we manage to induce the creation of all of life’s building blocks, and even if we then manage to coax those building blocks to become a self-replicating entity that can produce descendants… it doesn’t mean that we’ve proven how life *actually* got started on Earth.