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Life_on_Earth_2 - Life on Earth II Stephen Eikenberry 31...

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Life on Earth - II Stephen Eikenberry 31 August 2010 AST 2037 1
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Review from Last Time 2
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Life: What is it? Things with the ability to reproduce AND the ability to evolve and adapt Why both of these? Flames can spread or “reproduce”, but they aren’t alive Crystals (i.e. salt) can also spread or grow, but they aren’t alive either Only living things evolve – meaning develop adaptations to their environment that improve their ability to continue 3
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Why Carbon? There are other possibilities too! Long story short: Carbon is incredibly diverse in its ability to form chemical bonds with other elements Of ALL the other elements in the periodic table (almost 100 naturally-occurring ones), only Silicon has similar “talent” for chemical bonding 4
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Alanine: Isomerism Alanine comes in 2 “flavors” -- Levo & Dextro (L = “left-handed”; D = “right-handed” You cannot rotate one of these to match the other – same chemical components, but different structure (below) Note that ALL life on Earth uses L, not D (!!) Why?
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