Complex Life Evolved Thanks To A Chance Coupling? So States New Study

timeline of complex life on earth illustrated

A team of scientists is advancing a new theory as to how complex life might have evolved.

A new study conducted by a group of researchers part of South Africa’s Wits University believes to have found a new variant as to how complex life came to appear and start evolving on Earth billions of years ago.

Chance Coupling May Have Created Complex Life

Through joint research by Nisha Dhar, Marc S. Weinberg, Richard E. Michod, and Pierre M. Durand, we may now have an idea as to how life first began on our planet. According to their new research, which was published in the Royal Society’s Open Science journal, the scientists were successfully able to force non-living RNA molecules to join together and form a larger, self-replicating molecule. They hypothesize that this could have been how things began on Earth.

Their theory states that evolution was born out of what they call a “chance coupling”. More exactly, two strands of RNA connected through a chemical reaction process known as ligation. By doing this, two small strands of RNA were able to form a large molecule capable of self-replication, effectively creating life. These molecules, among many other factors, are what the team considers to be a foundational element of life as we now know it.

“Something needed to happen for molecules to reproduce, and thereby starting life as we know it. That something turned out to be the simple ligation of a set of small molecules, billions of years ago,” states Dr. Pierre Durand, the study lead. 

This theory is groundbreaking in many ways and is sure to garner much attention over the next few years. Humanity has probably been looking to find that spark that helped create life even before science as it is perceived nowadays came to be.

Mysteries Left to Explore

Though many more tests and research are still needed before anything can be conclusively proved, this new theory presents a seemingly possible and fascinating look at what might have kick-started the evolutionary process and helped create complex life.

Image Source: Wikimedia

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