Notice all the qualification in the proposal:
Primitive “protocells” like those that evolved into the first living cells can form in bubbles on mineral surfaces that were plentiful on the early Earth, according to new research.
The researchers created artificial protocells that they believe may be similar to the protocells that may have formed on Earth about 3.8 billion years ago. The artificial protocells can absorb other small molecules by forming a barrier membrane around them — behavior that is strikingly like that of modern living cells when they absorb cellular fuel and other essential materials while blocking off harmful substances.
And the artificial protocells also exhibit a primitive form of “division,” where the outer membrane of a protocell ruptures and leaves behind several “daughter” protocells with the same capabilities.
“The role of solid surfaces in the in the context of the origin of life, specifically with respect to the development of primitive cell compartments, has been largely overlooked in the past,” biochemist Irep Gözen of the University of Oslo wrote in an email. “But it appears that they can drive some amazing transformations.”Tom Metcalfe, “Surface Bubbles Could Have Evolved into Earth’s First Cells” at Inside Science
The conference paper is closed access.
Origin of life and Darwinian evolution seem to attract the airiest, flimsiest speculations. Is it just a coincidence or could there be a reason for that?
Here’s James Tour’s Episode 7 on Peptides: