BSCI Chapter 15

Conditions made the origin of life possible on early earth
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o Conditions - earth was formed about 4.6 billion years ago
o Hot place - volcanoes and early atmosphere with nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, water vapor
o As earth cooled water vapor condensed to form oceans
o Life likely began about 3.9 billion years ago. We have fossil stromatolites 3.5 billion years old - stromatolites are layered mats of prokaryotes similar to ones found today
o Small organic molecules like amino acids and nucleotides synthesized abiotically on substrates
o Small molecules join to form macromolecules
o Droplets with membranes allow molecules to concentrate and form protobionts - these membranes were not alive but had some attributes of living membranes - selectivity
o Self-replicating molecules form that allows inheritance - probably RNAs were first, the world was "RNA world". Some RNAs can act like enzymes = ribozymes
o 3.5 - 2 billion years ago - only prokaryotes
2.7 - 2.2 billion years ago - oxygen producing prokaryotes = photosynthesis
2.1 billion years ago - first unicellular eukaryotes
1.5 - 1.2 billion years ago - first multicellular eukaryotes
Colonization of land by plants and fungi - 500 million years ago
Hominoids - 6 - 7 million years ago
major role in macroevolution - at the same time life is evolving continents are moving
Three times that all continents have come together 1.1 billion years ago, 600 million years ago, 250 million years ago
The earths plates break apart and move = continental drift - Wegener 1912
Pangaea forms 250 million years ago, breaks up about 180 million years ago
First break creates Laurasia and Gondwana
Last break forms continents
Continental drift helps explain the current distributions of many plants and animals such as lung fish and marsupials
Continental drift can endanger humans - just ask folks living in LA
Five mass extinctions have been recorded in the fossil record
Permian extinction 251 million years ago wipes out 98% of marine animals
One at the end of the Cretaceous period claimed the dinosaurs
Causes - Volcanic eruptions, large comets or asteroids hitting earth
Consequences - many life forms lost it may take 5 - 10 million years for new species to rebound, new forms will radiate mammals replace reptiles as dominant terrestrial life forms, new life forms create new opportunities for other lineages to radiate - flowing plants provide opportunities for radiations of pollinators
Will man create the 6th mass extinction
Evolutionary novelties arise in several waysEyes in mollusks evolved from simple light sensing cells to complex eye Bird wings and feather evolved for flight from appendages used for other functions such as insulationSpecies selectionsome new species arise = "birth" others go extinct = "die". This model is macroevolution is called species selectionPhylogeny and the tree of lifePhylogeny is the evolutionary history of a species or related group Organisms that share similar morphologies are likely related Homologies are structures that evolved from same ancestral structure - wings of bats and birds Analogies are structures that result from convergent evolution - species from different evolutionary branches = no shared ancestry similar appearance examples - wings of bees and bats, Australian mole an North American mole - both look similar, they occupy the same niche