Volcanoes May Have Sparked Life on Earth, Study Says

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"We can only speculate," Ghadiri said. "But COS is now shown to be a useful and chemically feasible condensing agent."

The authors suggest that since COS decomposes relatively quickly on a geological timescale, it is unlikely to have accumulated to significant concentrations in the atmosphere.

Rather, the authors speculate that the volcanic gas would have influenced amino acids close to sources such as hydrothermal vents on the seafloor, forming peptide chains that would chemically stick to nearby rocks and continue to lengthen.

According to Pace, it is incorrect to infer from the study that life originated at volcanoes. However, Ghadiri said: "It puts the whole idea of pre-biotic speculation on sure footing. It's something that could have happened."

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