Mixing volcanic ash with meteorites may have jump-started life on Earth

Thursday, May 25, 2023 - 14:17 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Volcanic eruptions may have provided the necessary gases that would become parts of organic molecules. Depositphotos What is life? It’s a fuzzy concept without a single answer. If you asked a philosopher, they might quote Plato and tell you it’s the ability to support yourself and reproduce, though that would make sterile donkeys non-living objects. Ask a biologist and they’ll likely hit you with a textbook definition of life as organized matter with genes—as diverse as a paramecium and an elephant.   Oliver Trapp, a professor of chemistry at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany, offers a different description. He says life is a “self-sustainable reaction network,” in which organisms have the processes necessary to survive and adapt. This is in line with the definition NASA uses when looking for...

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