They designed a tube which held a mix of gases similar to those found in Earth's early atmosphere, namely water, ammonia, and methane, along with a pool of water to simulate the early ocean, and delivered an electric current to simulate lightning, into the gas-filled chamber. They found that several organic amino acids (long and complex molecules) had formed spontaneously out of the combination of these simple elements. These molecules collected together in the pool of water to form coacervates.
Their experiments lent support to the theory that the first life forms
arose spontaneously through naturally occuring chemical reactions. However, there are still
many skeptics of this theory who remain unconvinced.
British astrophysicist, Fred Hoyle, compares the likelihood of life
appearing on Earth by chemical evolution "as equivalent to the
possibility that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a
Boeing 747 from the materials therein".
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