Next Article in Journal
Constructive Approaches for Understanding the Origin of Self-Replication and Evolution
Previous Article in Journal
The Effect of Limited Diffusion and Wet–Dry Cycling on Reversible Polymerization Reactions: Implications for Prebiotic Synthesis of Nucleic Acids
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessEssay
Life 2016, 6(3), 25; doi:10.3390/life6030025

The Cosmic Zoo: The (Near) Inevitability of the Evolution of Complex, Macroscopic Life

1
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Science, MIT, 77 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
2
Rufus Scientific Ltd., 37 The Moor, Melbourn, Royston, Herts SG8 6ED, UK
3
School of the Environment, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA
4
Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Technical University Berlin, Berlin 10623, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: David Deamer
Received: 26 March 2016 / Revised: 17 June 2016 / Accepted: 22 June 2016 / Published: 30 June 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [300 KB, uploaded 30 June 2016]

Abstract

Life on Earth provides a unique biological record from single-cell microbes to technologically intelligent life forms. Our evolution is marked by several major steps or innovations along a path of increasing complexity from microbes to space-faring humans. Here we identify various major key innovations, and use an analytical toolset consisting of a set of models to analyse how likely each key innovation is to occur. Our conclusion is that once the origin of life is accomplished, most of the key innovations can occur rather readily. The conclusion for other worlds is that if the origin of life can occur rather easily, we should live in a cosmic zoo, as the innovations necessary to lead to complex life will occur with high probability given sufficient time and habitat. On the other hand, if the origin of life is rare, then we might live in a rather empty universe. View Full-Text
Keywords: transition; key innovation; complexity; evolution; multicellularity; origin of life; great filter transition; key innovation; complexity; evolution; multicellularity; origin of life; great filter
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Bains, W.; Schulze-Makuch, D. The Cosmic Zoo: The (Near) Inevitability of the Evolution of Complex, Macroscopic Life. Life 2016, 6, 25.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Life EISSN 2075-1729 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top