From Suns to Life: A Chronological Approach to the History of Life on Earth

  • Editors
  • Muriel Gargaud
  • Philippe Claeys
  • Purificación López-García
  • Hervé Martin
  • Thierry Montmerle
  • Robert Pascal
  • Jacques Reisse

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-VIII
  2. Muriel Gargaud, Jacques Reisse
    Pages 1-9
  3. Muriel Gargaud, Francis Albarède, Laurent Boiteau, Marc Chaussidon, Emmanuel Douzery, Thierry Montmerle
    Pages 11-38
  4. Thierry Montmerle, Jean-Charles Augereau, Marc Chaussidon, Matthieu Gounelle, Bernard Marty, Alessandro Morbidelli
    Pages 39-95
  5. Hervé Martin, Francis Albarède, Philippe Claeys, Muriel Gargaud, Bernard Marty, Alessandro Morbidelli et al.
    Pages 97-151
  6. Robert Pascal, Laurent Boiteau, Patrick Forterre, Muriel Gargaud, Antonio Lazcano, Purificación López-García et al.
    Pages 153-203
  7. Hervé Martin, Philippe Claeys, Muriel Gargaud, Daniele L. Pinti, Franck Selsis
    Pages 205-245
  8. Purificación López-García, David Moreira, Emmanuel Douzery, Patrick Forterre, Mark Van Zuilen, Philippe Claeys et al.
    Pages 247-290
  9. Didier Despois, Muriel Gargaud
    Pages 291-297
  10. Thierry Montmerle, Philippe Claeys, Muriel Gargaud, Purificatión López-García, Hervé Martin, Robert Pascal et al.
    Pages 299-312
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 313-370

About this book


This review emerged from several interdisciplinary meetings and schools gathering a group of astronomers, geologists, biologists, and chemists, attempting to share their specialized knowledge around a common question: how did life emerge on Earth? Their ultimate goal was to provide some kind of answer as a prerequisite to an even more demanding question: is life universal? The resulting state-of-the-art articles were written by twenty-five scientists telling a not-so linear story, but on the contrary, highlighting problems, gaps, and controversies. Needless to say, this approach yielded no definitive answers to both questions. However, by adopting a chronological approach to the question of the emergence of life on Earth, the only place where we know for sure that life exists; it was possible to break down this question into several sub-topics that can be addressed by the different disciplines.

The main chapters of this review present the formation and evolution of the solar system (3); the building of a habitable planet (4); prebiotic chemistry, biochemistry, and the emergence of life (5); the environmental context of the early Earth (6); and the ancient fossil record and early evolution (7). The concluding chapter (9) provides the highlights of the review and presents the different points of view about the universality of life. Two pedagogical chapters are included; one on chronometers (2), another in the form of a "frieze" (8) which summarizes in graphical form the present state of knowledge about the chronology of the emergence of life on Earth, before the Cambrian explosion.


Chronological approach Emergence of life Planet Pluridisciplinarity Solar System astrobiology biochemistry biology chemistry environment evolution solar

Bibliographic information