Life on Earth may have begun in ponds: study

  1. According to a study from a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT),first life on Earth was more likely to be developed in shallow bodies of water than in oceans.The study has shown that primitive ponds with 10 centimeters deep had higher concentration of nitrogen,a key ingredient for life on Earth.
  2. Further,it said that the nitrogenous oxides in the ponds had a good chance to react with other compounds and give rise to the first living organisms. However, in deep oceans it was harder for nitrogen to establish a significant,life-catalyzing presence.
  3. According to the hypothesis of life origin,free-floating ribonucleic acid(RNA) molecules had been chemically induced to form the first molecular chains of life after they contacted with the nitrogenous oxides.Those nitrogenous oxides in the water bodies were generated by lightning in the atmosphere and then drained down into the water.
  4. But the study has found a large portion of nitrogenous oxides could be destroyed,particularly in the oceans,by the sun’s ultraviolet light and the iron dissolved from primitive oceanic rocks.The two chemical reactions could suppress the concentrations of nitrogenous oxides in the ocean by a factor of 1,000.
  5. However,in shallow ponds,nitrogenous oxides would have built up to much higher concentrations because ponds had much less volume over which compounds could be diluted.These ponds could have been from 10 to 100 centimeters deep,with a surface area of tens of square meters or larger.The shallower the pond,the greater the chance nitrogenous oxides would have had to interact with other molecules.