Primordial soup in a can

Although many people believe the contrary, new life doesn't just emerge out of nothing. There is a process that proves this millions of times every day. This process is called "canning". 

Arend Nijdam     6 February 2022
  • Primordial Soup Theory
  • Life
  • Earth
  • Canning
  • Chance or God


  1. Canning
  2. Food Can vs. Planet Earth
  3. Comparable factors
  4. Sustainability for life
  5. Soup diversity
  6. Life's first DNA
  7. Life needs billions of years and cans don't offer that
  8. Life on Earth and the Hadean era
  9. Summary
  10. Conclusion


Canning is a method of food preservation in which food is processed and sealed in an air-tight container. Every day supermarkets around the world are restocked with large amounts of canned fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, soups, sauces, chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter, you name it. Factories fill up these cans and pots with food.  

  1. They make sure the can is clean (free of micro-organisms). 
  2. Food is put in the can. 
  3. The can is sealed. 
  4. The can is heated so all micro-organisms and spores left inside are killed. Because the can is properly sealed no micro-organisms and spores can get in 
  5. The food stays preserved. 

No one doubts this process, or has ideas for bettet ways. It’s a solid and trustworthy system. The U.S. Department of Agriculture even said that canned foods that are kept in good condition are safe to eat indefinitely. USDA guidelines recommend you can keep home-canned food for one year, but this recommendation is related to quality and nutrient value, not safety. 

If cans are in good condition ... they are safe indefinitely. - USDA 

In the rare case that you'd open up a can and you find a white furry coat of fungus on top of your beans, there is alway only one logical conclusion... 

Life must have developed inside the can! - No one, ever 

No of course not. The reason you found spores in your can, is because somehow the spores got inside. Obviously the can wasn't properly sealed (anymore). 

Food Can vs. Planet Earth

Each food can, anywhere in the world, is a instance of an experiment. It's the experiment of putting matter in a container and checking it for new spontaniously originated life/DNA. It is testing the Primordial Soup Theory. 

"molecules accumulated till the primitive oceans reached the consistency of hot dilute soup. The first reproducing things were created from this soup" - Wikipedia 

The theory basically says: The right Soup, plus an electrical discharge, equals life. 

Comparable factors

When it comes to the relevant properties that are needed for this experiment, Earth and food cans are quite similar. Food cans and Earth both are sealed of containers. Earth is in space, and its atmosphere keeps out everything that attempts to enter. They both contain matter that accounts for Soup. 

Sustainability for life

Food cans sustain life better than post-hadean Earth. When it comes to sustaining (or bringing forth) life, food cans have a huge advantages... 

When micro-organisms somehow do make it inside a can, they tend to flourish. They pull through the entire contents ruining its consumability. Food cans are very friendly towards life.

Earths Primordial Soup wasn't actually a soup in the classic sense of the word. Earth had gasses, water and rocks... a muck basically. Earth's environment was the bare minimum for life, yet it was enough, apparently.

Soup diversity

Each can has different contents, a wide range of diverse Primordial Soups. These Primordial Soups are rich in organic matter and DNA. This soup diversity increases the odds of new DNA to spontaniously come in to existence. 

There is one Earth, and its soup happend to be exacly right. Lucky us! 

Life's first DNA

Food cans contain loads of DNA already, there is not much left that needs to happen: this existing DNA has to mutate into something unique, and it has to spontaniously come to life. 

Earth had no initial DNA to cheat development with. Unique and perfect DNA just appeared. Or perhaps imperfect DNA thats not viable for life appears all the time, and it's just a matter of waiting for DNA that is viable. But if that was the case back then, then that should be the case right now too, and it's not.

Life needs billions of years and cans don't offer that

No, initial life doesn't need big chunks of time. We're talking about the very first spark of life here, not a fully mutated human being that needed a proces of evolution. Waiting for the right soup might take some time, but that is perfectly shortcut and improved upon in the cans. 

Life on Earth and the Hadean era

Earth formed about 4.5 billion years ago, its start is called the Hadean Era. The Hadean Era lasted about 700 million years, so it ended about 3.8 billion years ago. Because of heat, gasses, toxicity, and asteroid impacts no life could have survived the Hadean Era. 

The earliest time that life forms first appeared on Earth is at least 3.77 billion years ago, possibly as early as 4.28 billion years (NASA). So, first life formed right after, if not before, the end of the supposedly very harsh Hadean Era. 

Because it went from "very harsh towards life", to "perfect for life", to "life actually happening", in a relatively short time span, I feel it's safe to state that: when an environment is suitable for life, life will appear. From the time that conditions were right, life never needed millions of years to appear. It's not that Earth was ready for life for billions of years before life happend. 


  1. Instead of one instance that was just enough life-friendly, we have billions of instances each year that are all very life-friendly. 
  2. Cans are better equiped for sustaining life than early Earth. 
  3. Canned food has a wide array of starting-soups, most of these are bound to be better than Earths o.g. Primordial Soup. 
  4. Earth too is a sealed container. No existing life from the outside is able get in. 
  5. If Earth taught us one thing: When conditions are right, life appears. 
  6. Its an experiment with a high reproducibility rate (millions per day) 


Despite all the advantages cans have, no new life has ever appeared. All fungi in your cans are to blame to a faulty seal (and aren't life forms that are new on Earth). 

The chance of life spontaniously appearing is not even small, it's nonexistent. The Primordial Soup Theory is nonsensical and unscientific. No one ever witnessed it, and there is no way to reproduce by means of experiment. 

So you're telling me there's a chance? … yeah! - Lloyd 

We do however believe it happend on Earth? Well, Earth is full if life right now, surely it's the only conclusion... right?