All life that we know about uses carbon.
Carbon is very important because it can form large
numbers of strong chemical bonds with other atoms.
This enables carbon to form the backbone of large,
complicated molecules, and life uses complex
molecules to store its information. Other elements
with similar chemical properties (such as silicon)
form large numbers of bonds, while other light
elements (such as oxygen) form strong bonds but in
At some level, though, carbon is necessary
for life because we observe that all life uses
molecules made out of carbon. Are there any
other ways to make life that don't rely on
carbon? We've never seen any, but that doesn't
mean that they don't exist.
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