Science: Whence Life?

Give a biologist a pinch of slime mold—primitive but living protoplasm—and he will have no difficulty predicating an evolutionary ascent, from that bit of animate substance, which leads to large, complex and reasoning beings like himself. Yet the prime question remains: How did the first bit of life appear on earth?

To that question there are three possible answers: 1) life was planted on earth by divine power; 2) life emerged from nonliving matter by some pregnant combination of chemical circumstances; 3) life was transported to earth in meteorites or some other carrier, from...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!