- the seas and atmosphere as they existed on earth before the existence of life, consisting primarily of an oxygen-free gaseous mixture containing chiefly water, hydrogen, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide.
- a laboratory preparation containing the substances believed to have composed primordial soup, and used in experiments seeking to understand the origin of life.
Origin of primordial soup
First recorded in 1925–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- A liquid rich in organic compounds and providing favorable conditions for the emergence and growth of life forms. Oceans of primordial soup are thought to have covered the Earth during the Precambrian Eon billions of years ago. The organic compounds in the primordial soup, such as amino acids, may have been produced by reactions in the Earth's early atmosphere, which was probably rich in methane and ammonia. The complex self-replicating organic molecules that were the precursors to life on Earth may have developed in this primordial soup.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.