To test the theory, researchers collected fluids from black smokers and analyzed them for the presence of methanethiol.
Chris German/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Deep Dive Challenges Origin-of-Life Theory

We still don’t know how life began, but we may know how it didn’t. Researchers who tested the popular theory that life originated around ancient seafloor hot springs have discovered that may not be what happened. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, describes how scientists analyzed the chemicals spewing from deep-sea geysers and found very little methanethiol, a compound suspected to be the “starter dough” from which all life emerged. Life still could have started around seafloor vents, the researchers acknowledge, but methanethiol likely wasn’t involved.

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