The scientists do tend to surmise that maybe our earliest ancestors lived in hot volcanic springs.
Scientists are still puzzled over how life actually began on planet earth. Yet now evidence is finally emerging regarding how the original life forms settled in their environmental niche.
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The last universal common ancestor (LUCA) of Bacteria and Archaea may not be that far off on the science radar. These are the two major life forms. Eukaryotes which diverged and went on to form the animal and plant kingdom are the third one.
The problem is that there is no time machine to take us back to the primordial times on earth. How can we examine every single bacterium, plant, animal and fungi in the past?
It is a seemingly impossible task.
However, the field of genetics lends us a clue or two regarding this blast from the past. The scientists perused through 6.1 million protein-encoding genes of unicellular organisms.
Over 355 genes were identified in LUCA, according to NYTimes. At least that is what the evolutionary pathways revealed to be the case. From the genetic materials, an outline of the trend of the organism’s life may be gauged.
According to the researchers, they were in for a surprise when they went in search of humanity’s distant ancestors. The results showed that LUCA lived in a very hot oxygen-less environment where there were lots of minerals to feed upon.
This seemed to be what a hot spring inside a volcano looked like. When the metabolic rate of LUCA was calculated, it was found to be the ruling and chief one among the early ancestors.
That is before the Bacteria and Archaea went their separate ways. Life was like this four billion years ago when the earth was so different from what it is today.
This study is not without its controversial aspects. While the researchers believe that LUCA is close to the common ancestor of all of life on the earth, some other scientists say that life emerged in sunlit pools that were shallow to begin with.
The evolution of everything thus began from such conditions of paucity. They say that what the researchers call LUCA was not the oldest of organisms although it could be a missing link on the road of evolution from the amoeba to man.
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The research paper on LUCA got published by the journal Nature Microbiology.