Presentation on theme: "Part of the Evolution of Australian Biota Module Biology in Focus, Preliminary Course Glenda Childrawi and Stephanie Hollis Life on Earth Topic 4: Urey."— Presentation transcript:
Part of the Evolution of Australian Biota Module Biology in Focus, Preliminary Course Glenda Childrawi and Stephanie Hollis Life on Earth Topic 4: Urey and Miller
DOT POINT Discuss the significance of the Urey and Miller experiments in the debate on the composition of the primitive atmosphere Gather information from secondary sources to describe the experiments of Urey and Miller and use the available evidence to analyse the: Reasons for their experiments Result of their experiment Importance of their experiment illustrating the nature and practice of science Contribution to hypotheses about the origin of life Discuss the ways in which developments in scientific knowledge may conflict with the ideas about the origins of life developed by different cultures
Introduction In the early 1950’s, Harold Urey and his student Stanley Miller carried out the first experiment simulating hypothetical conditions present on Earth 4 billion years ago in order to look at the chemical reactions that may have occurred. amnh.org
Origins of life Using the equipment pictured, Urey and Miller placed water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen into sealed glass tubes and flasks connected by a loop.
Origins of life This apparatus was a simulation in which water and gases (representing the Earths early oceans and atmospheres) could be heated and circulated through sparks which simulated lightning.
Origins of life One flask was half filled with liquid water and the other contained a pair of electrodes. The water was heated to cause it to evaporate into steam.
Origins of life Sparks were created between the electrodes in the other flask to simulate lightning storms in a steamy atmosphere. The steam cooled and condensed back into liquid trickling back into the first flask, simulating an atmosphere that was cooled. This was continuously repeated simulating a cycle in the early atmosphere
Origins of life After a week, they observed that as much as 10-15% of the carbon was in the form of simple organic compounds, with 2% forming amino acids. 13 of the 22 amino acids formed were those used to make proteins in living cells!
Origins of life This experiment provided the first experimental evidence that it is possible for inorganic substances to produce living (organic) substances. This theory has been called the theory of biochemical evolution.
Origins of life The experiments have been replicated successfully to provide a similar outcome each time. Some scientists have replicated this experiment using ultraviolet light instead of electricity to produce nitrogen bases and nucleotides as well as amino acids. bio.miami.edu
Recent Debate It’s important to consider that this is only one scientific perspective and is theory. It’s not proven to create life, and this experiment is currently under investigation as we are not exactly sure what the atmospheric conditions were 4 billion years ago. newscientist.com
Recent Debate There has been recent doubt concerning this experiment as it is now believed that the atmosphere of early Earth did not contain free hydrogen. There is geological evidence which supports this: In the precipitation of limestone The oxidisation of ferrous iron in early rocks The distribution of minerals in early sedimentary rocks Recent study of the composition of volcanic gases Recent study of the destruction of molecules by UV radiation
Recent Debate There is also geological evidence to which supports an oxygen free primitive Earth atmosphere: Fluvial uranium sand deposits Banded iron formations Paleosols (ancient soils) suggest very low oxygen levels Mantle chemistry data
Recent Debate Another objection is that these experiments required a significant amount of energy. It is argued that although lightning storms were common on primitive Earth, they did not occur continuously as portrayed in Urey and Miller’s experiment. This means that amino acids and organic compounds may have only been formed in smaller amounts kalb.com
Other sources for Organic Compounds Many of the organic compounds made in the Urey and Miller experiments are now known to exist in outer space. There are other sources of ‘organic ‘building blocks of life’, such as meteorites, comets and hydrothermal vents. wallpapervortex.com blog.mywonderfulworld.org
Other sources for Organic Compounds The Murchison meteorite found in Victoria in 1969 contained over 90 amino acids, of which 19 are found on Earth. The primitive Earth is believed to be similar to many of the comets and asteroids found in our galaxy. This demonstrates that Earth may have received organic compounds and amino acids from outside the planet (panspermia) meteorlab.com
Other sources for Organic Compounds In 1997, Douglas C. B. Whittet published an article in the Astrophysical Journal on the conditions favourable to the formation of organic compounds that exist in interstellar dust clouds. If amino acids are able to survive the extreme conditions of outer space then this might suggest amino acids were present when the Earth was first formed. books.google.com
Other sources for Organic Compounds In 2000, some scientists argued that organic compounds could have formed in areas other than the atmosphere, such as hydrothermal vents and volcanic aquifers. pmel.noaa.gov
Other sources for Organic Compounds Even though we continue to obtain more evidence towards the composition of the atmosphere of primitive Earth, each piece of evidence may support different theories. Scientists may interpret the evidence differently and the controversy and debate will continue. evolution.berkeley.edu
Other sources for Organic Compounds The experiments of Urey and Miller remain significant in the advancement of ideas surrounding the composition of the primitive atmosphere. This has led to further experimental testing and exploration into this area of Science. coolhunting.com
Other sources for Organic Compounds Developments in scientific knowledge about the origins of life are constantly occurring as discoveries are made and new technologies provide more advanced approaches to unanswered questions. These changes may conflict with the ideas held by different cultures. hroutsourcingconnection.com
Other sources for Organic Compounds The difference between science and religion has been the basis of conflict for a long time. We must consider the beliefs of the individuals and carefully balance culture, religion and science. This balance may be achieved by recognising the distinctions between each group and understanding what each one means. themaplesyrupguys.blogspot.comisx.org.au
Homework Students to complete DOT Point 1.6 and 1.7