We see the last universal common ancestor of all living organisms, or LUCA, at the evolutionary separation of the Archaea from the Eubacteria, and before the symbiotic event believed to have led to the Eukarya. LUCA is often implicitly taken to be close to the origin of life, and sometimes this is even stated explicitly. However, LUCA already had the capacity to code for many proteins, and had some of the same bioenergetic capacities as modern organisms. An organism at the origin of life must have been vastly simpler, and this invites the question of how to define a living organism. Even if acceptance of the giant viruses as living organisms forces the definition of LUCA to be revised, it will not alter the essential point that LUCA should be regarded as a recent player in the evolution of life. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.