If you’ve been keeping up with developments in the biological sciences, you’ve probably anticipated this one for quite some time. As described in this short article in Science Daily,
“For 80 years it has been accepted that early life began in a ‘primordial soup’ of organic molecules before evolving out of the oceans millions of years later. Today the ‘soup’ theory has been over turned in a pioneering paper in BioEssays which claims it was the Earth’s chemical energy, from hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor, which kick-started early life.
“‘Textbooks have it that life arose from organic soup and that the first cells grew by fermenting these organics to generate energy in the form of ATP. We provide a new perspective on why that old and familiar view won’t work at all,’ said team leader Dr Nick lane from University College London. ‘We present the alternative that life arose from gases (H2, CO2, N2, and H2S) and that the energy for first life came from harnessing geochemical gradients created by mother Earth at a special kind of deep-sea hydrothermal vent — one that is riddled with tiny interconnected compartments or pores.’”
(See also this release from EurekAlert!.)