Tag Archives | origins of life

“Alien Algae” Found On Upper Stratosphere Research Balloon

alien algae

Evidence that Earth was “seeded” by life from above? Medical Daily reports:

Did a British research balloon pick up extraterrestrial life as it skimmed the stratosphere during the annual Perseid meteor shower?

Yes, [says] astrobiologist Chandra Wickramasinghe and his fellow scientists, who claim that the microscopic algae detected on the balloon’s sterile slides “can only have come from space.” In a study presented at the Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology conference in San Diego, Calif. last month, the team theorized that the seeds are constantly transported between planets by asteroids, comets, and other cosmic wanderers.

“The entities varied from a presumptive colony of ultra-small bacteria to two unusual individual organisms – part of a diatom frustule and a 200 micron-sized particle mass interlaced with biofilm and biological filaments.”

The presence of stratospheric life would back the panspermia hypothesis – the popular astrobiological view that life is promulgated by itinerant repositories of microorganisms that “impregnate” planets.

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Humans May Have Originated As A Pig-Chimp Hybrid

pig-chimpPerhaps the real reason human beings feel the urge to keep kosher/halal is that in pigs we subconsciously recognize a glimmer of ourselves. Phys.org reports:

Dr. Eugene McCarthy is a Ph.D. geneticist who has made a career out of studying hybridization in animals. He has amassed an impressive body of evidence suggesting that human origins can be best explained by hybridization between pigs and chimpanzees. Extraordinary theories require extraordinary evidence and McCarthy does not disappoint. Rather than relying on genetic sequence comparisons, he instead offers extensive anatomical comparisons, which are startling when taken together.

The list of anatomical specializations we may have gained from porcine philandering is too long to detail here. Similarities in the face, skin and organ microstructure alone are hard to explain away. A short list of differential features would include, multipyramidal kidney structure, presence of dermal melanocytes, melanoma, absence of a primate baculum (penis bone), surface lipid and carbohydrate composition of cell membranes, vocal cord structure, laryngeal sacs, diverticuli of the fetal stomach, intestinal “valves of Kerkring,” heart chamber symmetry, skin and cranial vasculature and method of cooling, and tooth structure.

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Does Moore’s Law Imply That Life On Earth Arrived From Elsewhere?

origin of lifeThe MIT Technology Review writes that earthly lifeforms appear to have 10 billion years’ worth of complexity, yet our planet is only 4.5 billion years old. So do our origins lie elsewhere?

As life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law. Now geneticists have extrapolated this trend backwards and found that by this measure, life is older than the Earth itself.

Alexei Sharov at the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore and Richard Gordon at the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Florida argue that it’s possible to measure the complexity of life and the rate at which it has increased from prokaryotes to eukaryotes to more complex creatures such as worms, fish and finally mammals. That produces a clear exponential increase identical to that behind Moore’s Law although in this case the doubling time is 376 million years rather than two years.

That raises an interesting question.

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Could An Extraterrestrial Message Be Encoded In Our DNA?

Could a message have been inserted into our genetics billions of years ago, as the most durable method of communicating with intelligent life eons later? Discovery News ponders:

Could our genes have an intelligently designed “manufacturer’s stamp” inside them, written eons ago elsewhere in our galaxy?

Vladimir I. shCherbak of al-Farabi Kazakh National University of Kazakhstan, and Maxim A. Makukov of the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute, hypothesize that an intelligent signal embedded in our genetic code would what they call “biological SETI.”

In the journal Icarus, they assert: “Once fixed, the code might stay unchanged over cosmological timescales. Therefore it represents an exceptionally reliable storage for an intelligent signature.” To pass the designer label test, any patterns in the genetic code must be highly statistically significant and possess intelligent-like features that are inconsistent with any natural know process.

They go on to argue that their detailed analysis of the human genome displays a thorough precision-type orderliness in the mapping between DNA’s nucleotides and amino acids.

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The Preformationist Explanation Of Reproduction And The Creation Of Life

Preformationism—one of the dominant scientific theories of the 18th century—is the belief that a tiny tree is hidden inside every seed, and a tiny person curled up inside every sperm. Via Wikipedia:

In the history of biology, preformationism (or preformism) is the idea that organisms develop from miniature versions of themselves. Instead of assembly from parts, preformationists believe that the form of living things exist, in real terms, prior to their development. It suggests that all organisms were created at the same time, and that succeeding generations grow from homunculi that have existed since the beginning of creation.

Pythagoras is one of the earliest thinkers credited with ideas about the origin of form in the biological production of offspring. It is said that he originated “spermism”, the doctrine that fathers contribute the essential characteristics of their offspring while mothers contribute only a material substrate.

The groundbreaking scientific insights provided by Galileo and Descartes seemed to support preformationism.

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Fossilized Algae Inside Meteorite Is Proof Of Extraterrestrial Life, Researchers Claim

Their findings are fiercely controversial, but I want to believe in the space algae. Russia Today reports:

Fossilized algae recently discovered inside a Sri Lankan meteorite could finally prove the existence of extra-terrestrial life, claim the authors of the new paper recently published in the Journal of Cosmology.

The paper alleges that “microscopic fossilized diatoms were found in the sample,” which fell in Sri Lanka in December last year. The finding, the work suggests is “strong evidence to support the theory of cometary panspermia.” Panspermia suggests that life could have existed on another planet and moved to Earth.

The finding however has already come under sharp criticism, with astronomers claiming that the meteorite looks more like a rock that could be found on earth as the study provides vague details of the finding. Astronomer and lecturer Phil Plait wrote that the chemical analysis presented “doesn’t prove it’s a carbonaceous chondrite, let alone a meteorite,” and there is “no reason to trust that what they have is a meteorite.”

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Did Life On Earth Start With A Single Ocean-Sized Mega-Creature?

lucaFile this under we-are-all-connected: three billion years ago, life on Earth may have been a global mega-organism called LUCA, from which all living things today are descended. Can we get an artist’s rending of this colossal being?  New Scientist writes:

ONCE upon a time, 3 billion years ago, there lived a single organism called LUCA. It was enormous: a mega-organism like none seen since, it filled the planet’s oceans before splitting into three and giving birth to the ancestors of all living things on Earth today.

This strange picture is emerging from efforts to pin down the last universal common ancestor – not the first life that emerged on Earth but the life form that gave rise to all others.

The latest results suggest LUCA was the result of early life’s fight to survive, attempts at which turned the ocean into a global genetic swap shop for hundreds of millions of years.

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