Biology KS3/4: The origins of life on Earth

Professor Brian Cox describes where life may have first evolved on Earth.

Brian explains that the key requirement for life, energy, is released when acidic seawaters meet the alkaline water pumping out of a hydrothermal vent.

He describes some other features of the vents that make them a possible location for the origin of life, including the presence of organic molecules and porous chambers in the rocks.

This clip is from the series Wonders of Life.

Teacher Notes

This clip could be used as stimulus material for study of the Miller-Urey experiment, conducted to support the primordial soup theory.

The footage of the vents can also be used within a lesson on extremophiles.

Challenge students to suggest how an organism would have to be adapted to be successful in this environment before showing them existing organisms that live around the vents and seeing if their theories are close to the real life examples.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Biology at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and SQA National 3/4/5 in Scotland.

More from Wonders of Life:

Bacteria and the development of an oxygen rich atmosphere
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Conservation of energy
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How has life on Earth become so varied?
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Lemurs: Evolution and adaptation
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Jellyfish and photosynthesis
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The arrival of water on Earth
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Evolution of hearing
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Evolution of sight
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Evolution of the senses
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Gravity, size and mass
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Size and heat
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