Evolution Trivia Quiz

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2. Emergence

Most biologists accept that life originated spontaneously from carbon-rich substances interacting under influences like heat or radiation that are favorable for chemical reactions. In the 1920s, Oparin and Haldane proposed that the atmosphere of the young Earth, rich in methane and ammonia but poor in oxygen, provided the right conditions for life to take hold. Just one problem with that, however:

A) Life evolved in moist rocky fissures with little atmospheric influence
B) Life on Earth was actually seeded by organic molecules from space
C) Methane has now been shown to suppress evolutionary development
D) The atmosphere of early Earth wasn’t like that at all

Your answer — B) Life on Earth was actually seeded by organic molecules from space — was incorrect.

Evidence from Australia and Greenland suggests that life arose somewhere between 3.5 and 4 billion years ago, probably in warm, muddy pools on land rather than in the depths of the ocean. The possibility that molecules borne to Earth on meteorites helped in some way to get life started can’t be dismissed, but no firm evidence favoring the idea has been found. And although current research indicates that the primitive atmosphere had plenty of oxygen after all, and not much methane or ammonia, the general picture of life’s origins still resembles in many respects the one suggested by Oparin and Haldane.

Click “Question 3” below to continue the quiz.

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