The Beginning - Life

This Evolution Talk podcast can be listened to on-line at ETP: The Beginning - Life, where it is close to the bottom of the episode list.


  • Big Bang over 13 billion years ago
  • solar system and earth formed 4.6 billion years ago
  • not hospitable - volcanic, little oxygen
  • Charles Darwin imagined life beginning in a warm little pond with ammonium and phosphoric salts, plus energy from lightning
  • now, thought more likely to have been around hydrothermal vents
  • Miller replicated early conditions and produced building blocks of life in the laboratory
  • Panspermia is theory that life originated elsewhere and was brought to earth on comets/meteorites
  • Directed panspermia means intentional seeding of life, and Crick suggested we might do this ourselves
  • meteorite from Murcheson, Victoria found to contain several organic compounds

Further information
Miller Expt info - description [Wikipedia]
Panspermia info - description [Wikipedia]
Murchison meteorite info description [Wikipedia]