A major study looks for evolution, but finds huge disparities, stasis, gaps, periodic explosions, and miracles of emergence held together with imagination.
The text is too long to present here, so I will give one example: the “right to evolve.” The authors note that “evolution” has many meanings.
The most abundant biopolymer on Earth requires a host of machines, genes, proteins, and accessories.
It’s no help having essential elements in the Earth’s crust if they can’t get to the organisms that need them.
It could be anything, from a coelenterate-grade or sponge-grade organism to even a protist or an alga.