Examining decades of studies of an “extravagant” concept involving viruses from outer space casts doubt on how scientific we can be when we anticipate the evolution of life on Earth.
While it’s easy to use terms like “crazy,” “thug,” and “maverick” to describe the scientific fringe, publications like this one, dating from 2018, have us blinking like an owl, not knowing where to begin.
This review, published in August 2018 by Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, had a total of 33 participants. The journal is peer reviewed and receives a quantity decent quotes. So it is neither a small nor a specialized resource for paid publishing.
Stephen Fleischverser, science journalist, looking at the past Among the two most famous scientists involved are: Edward Steele and Chandra Wickramasinghe. It’s worth reading.
to summarize, Steel He is an immunologist with a marginal reputation for his ideas about evolution, which emphasize the acquisition of genetic changes caused by environmental influences rather than random mutations, a concept he calls Lamarckian meta.
On the other side, Wickramasingi He had a less controversial career, having been recognized Valid Experimental Sir Fred Hoyle’s idea explaining the formation of complex carbon particles on interstellar dust.
Wickramasinghe and Hoyle are also the origin of another treatise on astrobiology. This is just based on more of the roots of organic chemistry.
Hoyle Wickramasinghe (HW)’s treatise on (cosmic) comet biology presents a relatively simple idea that the course of evolution has been strongly influenced by biochemistry that did not originate on Earth.
Comets are carriers and distributors of life in the universe. Wickramasinghe . said, “Life on Earth began and evolved as a result of comet input.”
Wickramasinghe argues that these intakes aren’t limited to a liberal flick of space-cooked amino acids.
Instead, they contain viruses that infect living organisms, causing them to evolve in entirely new ways.
The article is titled “The Cause of the Cambrian Explosion – Earth or Cosmic?” It draws on current studies to conclude that an extraterrestrial retrovirus rain had a significant impact on the diversity of life in our waters about half a billion years ago.
“Consequently, retroviruses and other viruses released into the comet debris pathways have the potential to deliver new DNA sequences into the terrestrial genome and promote additional mutagenic changes in the somatic and bacterial genomes,” Researchers announced.
Take the time to absorb it. And before you continue, take a deep breath, because that was the easy part.
It’s around this time that a group of mollusks, cephalopods, had begun to poke their tentacles out of their shells, branching out into an astonishing array of sizes and shapes in an apparently relatively short period of time.
The genes of these species, which today include octopus, squid, and cuttlefish, are as exotic as the animals themselves, not least because of their ability to alter their DNA in flight.
The report’s authors make a bold argument that these genetic abnormalities could constitute evidence of extraterrestrial life.
But this time, it will be the arrival of entire genomes stuck in stasis and then melting into warm seas.
“Thus, the arrival of cryopreserved squid and/or octopus eggs in ice larders several hundreds of millions of years ago should not be ruled out,” Did they conclude?.
medical expert Keith Bafferstock from the University of Eastern Finland acknowledged in their review of the manuscript that there is a large number of data supporting the HW concept, such as the individual timeline of virus emergence.
However, this is not the way science progresses.
“I believe this work demonstrates the scientific validity of independent early life hypotheses,” Then Baverstock confirmed.
“As compelling as the weight of reasonable but inconclusive evidence may be, this is not the case.”
While the concept is new and interesting, nothing in the abstract contributes to our understanding of the evolution of life on Earth more than current conjectures, and thus adds nothing to our model of evolution.
However, with adequate precautions, science may be able to tolerate a healthy dose of craziness from time to time.
Dennis Noble, editor-in-chief of the journal, agrees that “more studies are needed,” to put it mildly.
However, due to recent advances in organic chemistry in space, there is some controversy.
“As space chemistry and biology gain importance, it is only natural that a journal dedicated to the intersection of physics and biology would encourage discussion,” Nabil said.
“The ideas will inevitably become testable in the future.”
To be ready to welcome back our octopus masters should these tests validate the predictions, we suggest that you prepare well. Who knows when they’ll want to claim those eggs?
The results of this study were published in the journal Advances in biophysics and molecular biology.
This story was first published in August 2018.