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Theory Of The Origin Of Life Being Underwater Hydrothermal Vents

1393 words - 6 pages

Theory of the Origin of Life being Underwater Hydrothermal Vents

According to the Bible, God created the first man, Adam, from the soil and the first woman, Eve, from Adam’s rib. These events happened in the Garden of Eden almost six thousand years ago. That is one of the many beliefs of how carbon based life forms, otherwise referred to as living organisms, came to exist on Earth. Since the beginning of man’s reign on earth he has tried to explain his origins. He has used various religions and myths of being created by some higher power and he has looked toward the stars and planets thinking that perhaps life came to earth by way of space ship or meteorite. Even in today’s world of high technology we have yet to answer that age-old question, but scientists are closer than they have ever been before. Scientists from many different fields have been researching our beginnings and they have many different theories of how we came to exist. One of those theories is that life originated at the bottom of the ocean near an underwater hydrothermal vent.
Hydrothermal vents are created when the earth’s crust on the ocean bottom spreads apart. The earth’s surface is made up of crustal plates that are continuously moving together at some points and apart at others. The hydrothermal vents or black smokers, so called because of the dark plumes arising from the vents like chimneys, are places where heat is transferred from the lithosphere to the ocean (Parson 1995). Jack Corliss first discovered hydrothermal vents in 1977 while exploring a volcanic ridge in the Pacific Ocean (Simpson 1999). Up until the discovery of the vents scientist believed that the ocean floor was primarily lifeless because of the water pressure, the cold temperature, and the lack of oxygen. What Jack discovered was a thriving ecosystem consisting of various sea creatures including mussels, tubeworms, clams, and shrimp living around vents that were expulsing water at temperatures up to 350 degrees Celsius out of the earth’s interior (Simpson 1999). Because of the water pressure the high temperature was not as dangerous to the animal life as it would have been on the surface. Many of the hydrothermal vent animals consist of entire groupings of animals that only exist at the vents. The fauna is endemic at high taxonomic levels, including a class, an order, five super-families, eight families, and numerous genera. The distinctiveness shows a period of long evolution and many show origins from the Mesozoic or earlier. It has been determined that these creatures are living off of microbes that come from the interior of the earth. These microbes convert carbon dioxide, water, and nitrate into a usable organic food source in much the same way a plant uses photosynthesis to convert elements into its food source (Humphris 1995). The creatures acquire their oxygen source from iron oxides and sulfates, which consist of weakly bound oxygen and other elements (Gold 1999). Many scientists now...

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