This video takes the viewers on a quick journey and circles back to the beginning origins of life on Earth starting with elements and compounds. It then discusses specific genes shared across many species and explains the last universal common ancestors and how it lived. The video concludes by talking about The Lost City; an modern day environment like the starting points of organisms that have expanded into the Earth that we know today.

Why Watch This Video?

1. Have you ever wondered what hydrothermal vents are?

2. Would you like to know how The Lost City became well known as the type of location where life evolved?

3. Have you ever been confused by the difference between autotrophs and heterotrophs?

Key Terms

Coalitions– occur when a group of individuals work together against a common component or for a common goal. In this case, it is a group of simple organic compounds that come together to form a more complex group.

Steep chemical gradient– when the concentration of a substance goes from low to high in a small amount of space. Chemical reactions are more likely to happen in environments with steep chemical gradients.

Fissure– is a linear eruption in the rock that cracks due to volcanic activity. This causes a clear separation in the rock and mineral materials can often be found within these cracks.

Loose Ends

Where Do Hydrothermal Vents Come From?

This video lacks an explanation as to how hydrothermal vents were made. They are the result of  volcanic activity beneath the sea floor heating up water within ocean floor rocks, and forcing it out. The black and white “smokers” are not releasing smoke at all, but very hot water with minerals dissolved in it.

What Are the Three Domains of Life?

For a solid platform, it could be beneficial to define the three domains of life. Archaea- single celled microorganisms. Bacteria- a single celled organism that can live in a wide variety of environments. Eukarya organisms that contain a membrane-bound nucleus.

Why Water Is Key

A deeper explanation on why water is so essential for elements and compounds to comingle would enhance the importance of it… Water is essential because it is at Earth-like temperatures and provides transportation of cell substances to the cell’s environment.

Clarification About The Lost City

The video gives the impression that life originated at The Lost City. What it really means is that The Lost City is a good example of the environment where life did get its start. The first life appeared billions of years ago, but The Lost City formed after the Atlantic Ocean began to open, fewer than 200 million years ago.

Self-Test Questions

Scroll down to see the answers.

1. What does LUCA stand for?

  1. Longest Universal Common Animal
  2. Last Universal Common Ancestor
  3. Last Understandable Common Ancestor
  4. Longest Understandable Common Area

2. Why were black smokers unsuitable for LUCA living conditions?

  1. The smoke was too thick to allow light through
  2. There were too many mixed metals in the water
  3. The temperature was too cold to obtain life
  4. The heat was hundreds of degrees Celsius making it too hot for LUCA

Question 3: What were the six elements and compounds mentioned?

  1. Hydrogen, Phosphates, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Ammonia
  2. Hydrogen, Phosphates, Nitrogen, Iron, Sodium, Methane
  3. Hydrogen, Sulfate, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen, Ammonia
  4. Hydrogen, Phosphates, Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, Methane

4. Where were hydrothermal vents located?

  1. On the side of mountains
  2. In small streams of water
  3. Warm sandy beaches
  4. Across the ocean floor

5. The location of The Lost City is

  1. The Mid-Pacific Ridge
  2. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge
  3. The Center-Pacific Ridge
  4. The Center-Atlantic Ridge


1. B is the correct answer because although it was not the first life form on Earth, it is the last traceable living ancestors found.

2. D is the correct answer because black smokers release acidic, carbon dioxide rich water which heats up to high degrees and scientists discovered LUCA preferred cooler temperatures for living in.

3. A is the correct answer because those are the six elements and compounds that are necessities for any life form and are stated at the beginning on the video.

4. D is the correct answer because this is where there are fissures in the Earth’s crust that allows the seawater to suck up into the magma chambers producing large amounts of high temperature water.

5. B is the correct answer because the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is this is where the seawater is highly alkaline, lacks carbon dioxide and rich in methane producing reasonable temperatures.

Shared by: Anonymous

Item Credit: Luka Seamus Wright, TED-Ed

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