In 1950 - The primordial Earth was a very different place...

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In 1950, then-graduate stud ent Stanley Miller designed an experimental test for Oparin's hypothesis. Oparin's original hypothesis called for : 1) little or no free oxygen (oxygen not bonded to other elements); and 2) C H O and N in abundance. Studies of modern volcanic eruptions support inference of the existence of such an atmosphere. Miller discharged an electric spark into a mixture thought to resemble the primordial composition of the atmosphere. Miller's atmosphere contents are shown in Figure 1. From the water receptacle, designed to model an ancient ocean, Miller recovered amino acids . Subsequent modifications of the atmosphere have produced representatives or precursors of all four organic macromolecular classes.
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Unformatted text preview: The primordial Earth was a very different place than today, with greater amounts of energy, stronger storms, etc. The oceans were a "soup" of organic compounds that formed by inorganic processes (although this soup would not taste umm ummm good). Miller's (and subsequent) experiments have not proven life originated in this way, only that conditions thought to have existed over 3 billion years ago were such that the spontaneous (inorganic) formation of organic macromolecules could have taken place. The simple inorganic molecules that Miller placed into his apparatus, produced a variety of complex molecules, shown below in Figure 3....
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