“One of the world’s most important biological thinkers.” From Scientific American:
Excerpted from A Brief History of Creation by Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves III. Copyright © 2016 by Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves III. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
The year is 3,500,000,000 BC. The place is a rocky outcropping that juts out into a shallow, wave-lapped inlet on a landmass that will one day be called Australia. … atmosphere is filled with toxic gases, and almost completely devoid of oxygen. That will come much later, the product of photosynthesis by tiny organisms that will one day churn away in the primitive oceans.
But the ancestor of those creatures is already here. … Though based on reasonable evidence, the scenario just depicted is purely hypothetical. There are many such guesses about the precise nature of LUCA. The reality is that nobody knows exactly what the environment was like when life arose some four billion years ago. Instead of the hot water of a hydrothermal vent, for instance, LUCA might have lived in a warm little pond not unlike the one once suggested by Charles Darwin. Nor does anyone know what LUCA’s internal chemistry was like. It may have possessed unique features that have been lost to its ancestors over the course of several billion years of evolution and natural selection. More.
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