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Between 3700 and 2500 million years ago, the Earth was born. Nothing was as it is today, neither the continents, nor the oceans, nor the atmosphere. In those times, the atmosphere was crossed by electric storms, and ultraviolet rays of the Sun. These phenomena transformed the substances that were present, by means of chemical reactions, into macromolecules that were able to reproduce and feed themselves. Life was born! Between 3200 and 2900 million years ago, thanks to the appearance of blue algae that could carry out chlorophyll photosynthesis, oxygen spread into the atmosphere. Thanks to the oxygen in the air and the nitrogen, life could also be transferred to the surfaces above the water. According to some scientists, life originated in puddles of water on the surface, others instead believe it originated in the ocean abysses, where there are sources of very hot water rich in minerals. To date, in these inhospitable environments we find bacteria that are able to live without light and receive energy from chemical oxidation of the sulphur compounds.

subjects dealt with in Beginning of life

vita_400x225_0005_nascite della vita

The Beginning of life

Philosophers from ancient Greece believed that life was contained in matter itself and when conditions were favourable it would appear…

vita_400x225_0007_evoluzione della vita

The evolution of life

The first living organisms we have proof of thanks to fossils, are three and a half billion years old. They…

vita_400x225_0006_fossili

Fossils

We may say that every day, palaeontology researches, active worldwide, present some new discovery : it may be a new…

special reports

  • 3 November 2014 / Life

    Conan the bacterium

    Have you ever leafed through the pages of a book of Guinness World Records? You can find records of all…

    5 February 2010 / Life

    Extreme bacteria

    Four billion years ago Researchers from the Cnr with Bruno D’Argento and Giuseppe Geraci, geology and molecular biology professors from…

    10 March 2006 / Water

    Environment biotech

    Biotechnology can be defined as the application of microbiology, genetic engineering and biochemistry for the treatment of waste materials by…

  • 4 March 2010 / Life

    Biotechnological cleaners

    Bacteria that "eat oil" In today’s society, more than 80% of human activities are closely connected to the production of…

    10 May 2008 / Air

    Bioindicators

    Monitoring the environment Ecologic research is more and more oriented towards an assessment of the quality of the environment and…

    15 March 2008 / Life

    Biodiversity

    Defining biodiversity Much is said about biodiversity and of the need to protect it. But what is biodiversity? And why…

  • 1 October 2005 / Life

    Virus

    A microscopic mystery Virus is an ancient Latin word that means poison. It sounds scary for such a small thing.…

    15 February 2008 / Life

    Looking for DNA

    The discovery of DNA More than half a century ago, on 25 April 1953, a short article just 900 words…

    4 April 2013 / Life

    Carbon (14C) dating method

    Radiocarbon dating In 1991, near the border between Austria and Italy, the body of the Similaun man, also known as…

  • 3 November 2014 / Life

    Conan the bacterium

    Have you ever leafed through the pages of a book of Guinness World Records? You can find records of all…

    5 February 2010 / Life

    Extreme bacteria

    Four billion years ago Researchers from the Cnr with Bruno D’Argento and Giuseppe Geraci, geology and molecular biology professors from…

  • 10 March 2006 / Water

    Environment biotech

    Biotechnology can be defined as the application of microbiology, genetic engineering and biochemistry for the treatment of waste materials by…

    4 March 2010 / Life

    Biotechnological cleaners

    Bacteria that "eat oil" In today’s society, more than 80% of human activities are closely connected to the production of…

  • 10 May 2008 / Air

    Bioindicators

    Monitoring the environment Ecologic research is more and more oriented towards an assessment of the quality of the environment and…

    15 March 2008 / Life

    Biodiversity

    Defining biodiversity Much is said about biodiversity and of the need to protect it. But what is biodiversity? And why…

  • 3 November 2014 / Life

    Conan the bacterium

    Have you ever leafed through the pages of a book of Guinness World Records? You can find records of all…

  • 5 February 2010 / Life

    Extreme bacteria

    Four billion years ago Researchers from the Cnr with Bruno D’Argento and Giuseppe Geraci, geology and molecular biology professors from…

  • 10 March 2006 / Water

    Environment biotech

    Biotechnology can be defined as the application of microbiology, genetic engineering and biochemistry for the treatment of waste materials by…

from the Multimedia section

curiosities

  • Life from space

    According to some scientists life has always existed in the Universe just like the Universe itself has always been there.…

    Clonation and Future

    The ability to give life to identical organisms, called clonation, has always fascinated scientists from all over the world. The…

    Strong insects

    Many insects, despite their dimensions, are a lot stronger than human beings. The ant carries dead beetles and small pieces…

  • Bio-luminescence

    Many sea animals, including a lot of fish and molluscs that live in the dark in the ocean depths, are…

    Bacteria as detergents

    Enzymes are proteins produced by the cells of all living organisms. These molecules promote and speed up all chemical reactions…

    Bacteria as miners

    The ability of chemoautotrophic bacteria to take energy from the oxidation of inorganic compounds is used to extract ores. The…

  • Bacteria as Sherlock Holmes

    A drop of blood, a fragment of skin or a hair found on the scene of a crime can supply…

    Down-pouring bacteria

    It sounds incredible, but recent researches have found that bacteria can cause some atmospheric phenomena. Some types of bacteria hover…

    High-fashion bacteria

    Some bacteria, the Clostridia, were used to make textile fibres from hemp and linen stalks. The raw plants were left…

  • Life from space

    According to some scientists life has always existed in the Universe just like the Universe itself has always been there.…

    Clonation and Future

    The ability to give life to identical organisms, called clonation, has always fascinated scientists from all over the world. The…

  • Strong insects

    Many insects, despite their dimensions, are a lot stronger than human beings. The ant carries dead beetles and small pieces…

    Bio-luminescence

    Many sea animals, including a lot of fish and molluscs that live in the dark in the ocean depths, are…

  • Bacteria as detergents

    Enzymes are proteins produced by the cells of all living organisms. These molecules promote and speed up all chemical reactions…

    Bacteria as miners

    The ability of chemoautotrophic bacteria to take energy from the oxidation of inorganic compounds is used to extract ores. The…

  • Life from space

    According to some scientists life has always existed in the Universe just like the Universe itself has always been there.…

  • Clonation and Future

    The ability to give life to identical organisms, called clonation, has always fascinated scientists from all over the world. The…

  • Strong insects

    Many insects, despite their dimensions, are a lot stronger than human beings. The ant carries dead beetles and small pieces…

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