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Chapter 3 Water and Life

This is why my sister in Omaha, Nebraska, has to endure icy, snowy winters while my surroundings here in Western Washington stay relatively mild. Thank you, Pacific Ocean! Even smaller bodies of water offer protection to the animals that live in them. The temperature of the water in my tiny backyard pond stays cooler than the air temperature, protecting my tadpoles and mosquito larvae from cooking on a hot day.

You can demonstrate this principle using a small heat source, like a lamp, to heat up various substances.

Earth Would Look Like This:

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Water, an essential element for life

Both liquids have their own set of problems, however. Liquid ammonia only exists at extremely cold temperatures, making it unlikely that organisms could find the energy to support metabolism. Formamide, on the other hand, actually stays liquid over a larger temperature range than water, and like water, it's a solvent capable of dissolving many organic materials, but so far scientists have found little evidence that the solvent could support life.

If life forms that don't require water do exist, they'd be very different than the life found on Earth.

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For instance, rather than being carbon-based, such life may arise from silicone compounds. A recent study even suggests that an alternative life form might be lurking in our solar system.

Researchers studying Titan, a moon orbiting Saturn, noticed that hydrogen in the moon's atmosphere wasn't found on the surface. One explanation for the missing hydrogen is that life forms are consuming it, just as we consume oxygen. So far, however, we simply don't have enough information to say whether or not life could exist without water.

We know with certainty, however, that life on Earth definitely couldn't.

3 Reasons Why Water Equals Life

How do humans evolve? How soon will we run out of food?

Earth Without Water

Why is water vital to life? Aside from looking particularly thirst-quenching at times like these, water performs a multitude of critical jobs on our parched planet.


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Keep in mind that water is often found is some foods and drinks. If you were to collect a drop of water from a stream and view it under a microscope, you would probably discover many tiny organisms in it. Water supports many life forms, from microscopic organisms to large marine mammals such as whales and dolphins.

Most fish spend their entire lives in water and amphibians live parts of their lives in water. As it was said, water is essential to life. To learn more about water and its effects on life, please visit the links page for a list of websites where you can find more information on this subject and others related to water.