Chapter 2: Origins of Life on Gaus

On the surface of the young planet the daily thunderstorms were beginning to make their mark as the rain and lightning continued their daily assault.  Rivers of water and debris such as silt continued non-stop as primordial oceans were beginning to come into existance. The turbulent rivers of water and silt included salt crystals that were being leeched out of the crust and carried to the growing oceans. The oceans which started out as fresh bodies of water became more and more saline as the mineral rich floodwaters continually flowed into them. At the same time, there were other chemical processes from the numerous lightning flashes that continually crackled among the clouds and occasionally

Now that the water had cooled enough to permit life to begin the process of development, there was another player that entered the scene. The numerous lightning flashes now started adding anther player to the volatile atmosphere of Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Sulfur compounds and Methane that swirled about on the young planet and rained down upon the oceans and other bodies of water.  Amino acids and other chemicals (the result of  thousands of lightning flashes) slowly rained down upon the oceans, lakes, and other numerous bodies of water creating the beginnings of a sort of ancient chemical soup. This chemical soup was a random hodgepodge of chemicals in salt and freshwater. Something else was needed that would get the ball rolling. And it was in the unseen magical world that this would happen. In the invisible magical world, there was creation and destruction. 

At the very smallest molecular and atomic levels, particles would disappear and reappear. It was about this time in the planet’s history that primitive magical and energy streams from this invisible world began to slowly manifest out of the chaos of the primitive planet. It had a definite cause as though some higher power gave it a definite push and then let it proceed on its own while the creator simply sat back and watched it unfold.  This self-directed magical and energy streams slowly flowed upon the bottom of the oceans and lakes. These streams were mindless and ordered by themselves. Every so often the  head of the stream would react with the chemical soup and produce little flashes like underwater lightning. As the energy streams continued to slowly flow on the lake and ocean floors, chemical molecules got rolled over, pummeled, broken up, and mashed together.  In the invisible world of creation and destruction at the atomic and molecular levels, a new kind of particle arose between the between the energy streams and the outside environment. This particle was hungry for the chemical soup in which it arose and attracted towards similar particles that arose. These particles soon clumped together to form chemical eating crystalline structures. The threshold between absolute non-life and semi-life had now been crossed. As more and more of these crystalline structures developed, some of them would settle to the bottom while others floated among the deep sea currents. Even though the planet was still young, the volcanic activity had at least settled down to a relatively stable surface that was conducive to the beginning of life and its evolution forward. As the oceans continued to grow, depressions on the ocean floor caused underground lakes of concentrated primordial soup to accumulate.  In these unique environments, evolution kicked into high gear as virus like particles and finally primitive bacteria started to evolve. These primitive bacteria fed off of the chemical mixture in their environment. Planet Gaus had now crossed the threshold for supporting life. Primitive one-celled plant-like cells also appeared and started to colonize the warmer waters exposed to sunlight. Some of the shallow lakes became a rich colony of primitive bacteria and protozoa swimming among the debris. 

In some of the other pools, a distinctive green water began to develop. This green water was particularly rich in chlorophyll rich single cell plant like organisms. This rich green liquid began settling among certain shallow pools of water. Over time it acquired an almost syrup-like texture. This syrup like mixture was super-food of sorts for the primitive bacteria and other microorganisms that visited the surface feeding on it. One particularly large pool gave way during an earthquake spilling its contents in the ocean. The syrup-like liquid was heavier than the surrounding water and slowly started its journey downward towards the ocean floor gradually mixing with the surrounding ocean water.

Simple molds also started to evolve from colonies of primitive one-celled organisms and bacteria. In the shallow waters, colonies of primitive one-celled plants were slowly starting to creep on land leaving a covering of green slime on the rocks. The decomposing slime washed back into the water releasing more nutrients to the microscopic feeders that drifted among the shallow currents. Small bits and pieces occasionally gently drifted to the bottom and broke down to become a part of the environment and furnish nutrients for microscopic bottom dwellers. This evolutionary activity started to diversify due in part to geography (more quickly near the equator, much slower near the poles) and ocean currents that were starting to develop.

Puddles and Wetlands

It is hard to say when the boundary between aquatic life and terrestrial life became established.  The primitive plant had a clear distinction between land and sea.  The land itself was pretty much barren on the interior. Life was confined pretty much to inland pools and areas right near the ocean. However, the cycle of exposure to the elements and erosion never stopped as thin layers of soil began to accumulate on the dry bedrock. In some places the winds would blow it off entirely. But in other places, the soil began to accumulate to depths of several feet.

Volcanic activity was also still prevalent as well as ash from subsequent eruptions was belched out of the bowels of the earth onto the surface and lower atmosphere where it could drift for hundreds or even thousands of miles before settling down on the surface. The cycles of rain caused little rivulets running down surfaces of limestone to turn into tiny streams of weak acid which further ate away at the surrounding rock.

The surrounding slime and one-celled plants that had gradually crawled up onto the surrounding rock began forming jelly-like colonies that spilled over onto the topsoil. The soil itself devoid of any organic matter but rich in minerals which was perfect for the plant-like colonies. As the slime colonies evolved to grow more and more outside of a water environment, they gradually developed a spongy like covering on the soil and rock. As the millennia passed, and evolution gained pace, a primitive environment of ferns mosses and primitive tree-like structures started to dot the areas where there were shallow fresh water puddles and wetlands that extended for miles feeding and being fed by slow moving streams, precipitation and fountains of underground water.

Mountains and Forests

While there was a rich variety of plants they were still limited by the fact that they had to live close to a water supply. In time however, there were changes that started to have a profound effect on the primitive plants that were growing there. Over millions of years, some of the wetlands begain drying up due to the underground activities of mountain building and climate change. Most of the wetland plants died off but a few started to adapt developing woody sturdy stems and branches compared to their earlier counterparts. Over time, these new and tougher woody plants set the stage for what would eventually become widespread forest cover over less hospitable areas of the planet compared to the more fragile wetland plants.

Compared to modern forests, even the tougher plants still had that “prehistoric look”. But nonetheless, it was big leap forward that would empower plants to cover areas beyond the wetlands.

Insects and Invertebrates

Thev syrupy green liquid was especially favorable for evolutionary development. Some of the one-celled protozoa started clumping together as colony creatures. Some of them had long flagella to help them propel themselves through the water.  At first they were flat. However, they started to evolve into more streamlined 3 dimensional shapes to help channel the nutrient rich water through a tube like structure.  The cell layers increased and changed as the outermost layers evolved into a hornlike shell acting as armor plating for the inner layers. Other colony creatures developed into primitive tubelike creatures resembling worms and sponges. Over the course of evolution, the ocean became a rich habitat of of primitive worms, sponges and insectlike colony creatures crawling and swimming over the ocean floor. The same thing was also happening in bodies of fresh water (i.e. lakes) as well as in the rivers and streams that ran across the planet.