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Lecture 6 - The Origin and History of Life History of life...

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2/14/11 The Origin and History of Life
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2/14/11 History of life on earth 1) Before life began and the emergence of life 1) Some general patterns in earth’s history 1) Overview of geological timeline /
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2/14/11 Before life began Universe came into existence 14 billion (14,000,000,000) years ago
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2/14/11 Before life began Universe came into existence 14 billion (14,000,000,000) years ago Note: This is a really really really really really really really long time ago…
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2/14/11 Before life began Universe came into existence 14 billion (14,000,000,000 years ago) The emergence of life Simplest living things were complex aggregations of molecules; left no fossil record and thus can only be studied theoretically and experimentally ‘Life’ is a difficult concept to define, but generally it is agreed that an assemblage of molecules is ‘alive’ if it can capture energy from the environment, and then use that energy to replicate itself, and thus be capable of evolving The most likely early replicators were short RNA- like molecules (“RNA world”)
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2/14/11 History of life on earth 1) Before life began and the emergence of life 1) Some general patterns in earth’s history 1) Overview of geological timeline /
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2/14/11 1) The distribution of land masses and oceans have changed over time, affecting the geographic distributions of organisms Some general patterns in the history of the earth
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2/14/11 The distribution of land masses at several points in geological time
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2/14/11 Continental drift and fossil distributions
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2/14/11 1) The distribution of land masses and oceans have changed over time, affecting the geographic distributions of organisms 2) Catastrophic events have occurred… repeatedly. These include meteorite impacts, volcanic eruptions, massive changes in sea levels. Some general patterns in the history of the earth
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2/14/11 Mass extinctions – catastrophic decline of species Invertebrate extinctions over the past 600 million years
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2/14/11 1) The distribution of land masses and oceans have changed over time, affecting the geographic distributions of organisms 2) Catastrophic events have occurred… repeatedly. These include meteorite impacts, volcanic eruptions, massive changes in sea levels.
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