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OriginsThe Search for Our Prehistoric Past$
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Frank H. T. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702440

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702440.001.0001

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“From So Simple a Beginning”

“From So Simple a Beginning”

(p.31) 3 “From So Simple a Beginning”

Frank H. T. Rhodes

Cornell University Press

This chapter tackles the question of the origins of life. As we trace the origins and emergence of a variety of organisms, we confront even more challenging and comprehensive questions; such as how life has emerged from nonlife, or how the earliest living things or even life itself had evolved. The chapter chronicles Charles Darwin's own attempts to answer these questions, pointing out the particular difficulties of defining life in general. It then pursues a broader line of inquiry, referencing certain popular theories of the emergence of life from such eminences as Aristotle, in puzzling out the earliest records of life on Earth.

Keywords:   origins of life, Charles Darwin, nonlife, organisms, Earth history, evolution, existence of life, nature

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