A roundup of decades of research on a rather “external” idea with space viruses raises the question of how scientific we can be when it comes to speculating about the history of life on Earth. and nonconformist in the description of scientific margins, but then articles like this one from 2018 appear and make us blink like owls without knowing where to start.
In this review, that by. was published, a total of 33 names were listed as authors Advances in Biophysics and Molecular Biology (as of August 2018) The journal is peer-reviewed and pretty well cited.
So it’s not exactly a small or paid niche source for your post. Science writer Stephen Fleischfresser digs deeper in the funds of two of the most famous scientists involved: Edward Steele and Chandra Wickramasinghe. It is worth reading.
For a tl version; Dr steele is an immunologist known for his views on evolution based on the acquisition of genetic changes determined by the influence of the environment rather than random mutations in what he calls metalamarckism.
Wickramasinghe, on the other hand, has had a slightly less controversial career known for empirically confirming Sir Fred Hoyle hypothesis which describes the production of complex carbon molecules in interstellar dust. Wickramasinghe and Hoyle were also responsible for future space biology work. one is based on more than just the origins of organic chemistry.
Hoyle Wickramasinghes (HW) thesis on cometary biology (cosmic biology) makes the fairly simple claim that the direction of evolution was significantly influenced by biochemistry that did not start on our planet. In Wickramasinghe’s own words: “Comets are the carriers and distributors of life in the cosmos, and life on earth originated and developed as a result of the entry of comets.
These inputs, Wickramasinghe argued, are not limited to a generous sprinkle of amino acids that have been tagged around the world. Neither are acids. Rather, they include viruses that infiltrate organisms and propel their evolution in entirely new directions.
The report, titled “Cause of the Cambrian Explosion: Terrestrial or Cosmic? and other viruses to be released into meteoric debris can potentially add new DNA sequences to terrestrial genomes and cause further mutagenic changes within germline and somatic genomes, ”the authors wrote.
Before moving on, because that was the docile part during this period, a group of mollusks known as cephalopods first stretched their tentacles under their shells and branched out into an astonishing variety of sizes and shapes in a staggeringly short period of time and octopuses are as strange as the animals themselves, in part due to their ability to manipulate their DNA in the blink of an eye.
The authors of the paper make the rather bold claim that these genetic oddities could be a sign of life from space, this time not from space viruses but from the arrival of entered genomes frozen in stasis before they thaw in our warm waters.
“Therefore, the possibility that cryopreserved squid and / or octopus eggs arrived in frozen bolides several hundred million years ago should not be ruled out.” they wrote.
In his review of the article, University of Eastern Finland medical researcher Keith Baverstock admitted that there is a lot of plausible evidence in line with HW’s thesis, such as the strange timeline of the virus emergence, but that’s not how the science get moving.
“I think this article justifies skepticism about the scientific value of independent theories about the origin of life.” Baverstock argued At the time.
“The weight of plausible, but not definitive, evidence, however great, is not the point.”
Although the idea is as new and exciting as it is provocative, nothing in the summary helps us better understand the history of life on earth than existing assumptions that place little value on our evolutionary model.
Perhaps science can handle a generous dose of insanity from time to time. The magazine’s editor, Denis Noble, admits that “more research is needed,” which is an understatement.
Space for discussion. “As space chemistry and biology become more important, it is appropriate that a journal devoted to the interface between physics and biology stimulates debate.” Noble said.
“In the future, the ideas will surely be testable.”
In case those tests confirm speculation, we recommend being well prepared for the return of our cephalopod lords. Who knows when they will want to get those eggs back?