Scientists think they've found the origin of all earthly life

Where did life come from?
(Image credit: iStock)

Four billion years ago, sometime around Earth's 560 millionth birthday, Luca was born.

Luca is your great-to-an-infinite-degree grandmother and grandfather, as it is your dog's and your goldfish's and your ficus'. Every living thing on Earth owes its existence to Luca, whose very name stands for "Last Universal Common Ancestor." It is the origin of life on Earth, from which the rest of us evolved. And now scientists believe they have mapped a genetic picture of the qualities that would have belonged to Luca, giving us a startling look at how life on Earth might have begun:

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