• synonyms

chemical evolution

The formation of complex organic molecules (see also organic molecule) from simpler inorganic molecules through chemical reactions in the oceans during the early history of the Earth; the first step in the development of life on this planet. The period of chemical evolution lasted less than a billion years.

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Many of the steps in chemical evolution can now be reproduced in the laboratory.


Some scientists believe that all or most of the Earth's original organic molecules were created in space and were brought to the Earth's oceans by meteorites.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.