Is complex life a freak accident?

3 February 2012

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Dr Nick Lane (UCL Genetics, evolution and environment)

Natural selection is a kind of search engine. Given enough time, and suitably vast populations, it should find the best solutions repeatedly. So why are bacteria still bacteria? And why did all complex life on our planet share an ancestor that only arose once in four billion years? In this lecture Nick Lane suggests that everything we see around us stemmed from a freak accident two billion years ago. We are far from inevitable, and may be alone in a universe of bacteria.

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