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A bizarre article tests the limits of science by claiming that octopuses come from outer space

A bizarre article tests the limits of science by claiming that octopuses come from outer space

A summary of decades of research into an “external” idea that includes virus Space raises questions about our degree when it comes to speculating on the history of life on Earth.

It’s easy to throw words like hazelnut, bully, and slasher to describe the fringe of science, but articles like this one, from 2018, come and leave us blinking like an owl, and we don’t even know where to begin.

A total of 33 names are listed as authors in this review, which was published by Advances in biophysics and molecular biology In August 2018. Reviewed by colleagues and Cited fairly well. So it is not a small or paid niche resource for the publication.

Science writer Stephen Fleischerser goes deep to the bottom Among the two most famous scientists involved are: Edward Steele and Chandra Wickramasinghe. It is worth reading.

For a copy of TL, dr, Steel He is an immunologist with a marginal reputation for his views on evolution that rely on the acquisition of genetic modifications determined by the influence of the environment rather than random mutations, in what he calls meta-lamarxism.

WickramasingiOn the other hand, he had a somewhat less controversial career, empirically acknowledged Confirms Sir Fred Hoyle’s hypothesis Describes the production of complex carbon particles on interstellar dust.

Wickramasinghe and Hoyle were also responsible for another dissertation in astrobiology. Only this one draws on more than the origins of organic chemistry.

Hoyle Wickramasinghe (HW) thesis on (cosmic) comet biology simply asserts that the direction of evolution has been greatly influenced by biochemistry that did not begin on our planet.

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in a Wickramasinghe’s own wordsComets are the carriers and distributors of life in the universe, and life on Earth originated and evolved as a result of comet input.

Those intakes, according to Wickramasinghe, are also not limited to a big pinch of space-cooked amino acids.

Rather, it includes viruses that introduce themselves into living organisms, pushing their evolution in completely new directions.

The report, titled “The Cause of the Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic?” , builds on existing research to conclude that rains of exotic retroviruses have played a major role in diversifying life in our oceans about half a billion years.

“Consequently, retroviruses and other viruses believed to be shed in cometary debris pathways can both add new DNA sequences to the terrestrial genome and lead to other mutagenic changes in the somatic and bacterial genomes,” Authors wrote.

Let it sink for a moment. And take a deep breath before continuing, because that was the tamed part.

is during this period That a group of mollusks known as cephalopods first extended their tentacles under their shells, branching out into a dizzying array of sizes and shapes in what seemed like a remarkably short period of time.

The genes of these organisms, which today include octopus, squid, and cuttlefish, are as exotic as the animals themselves, in part due to their ability to alter their DNA in flight.

The article’s authors claim that these genetic quirks could be a sign of life from space.

No space viruses this time around, but the arrival of entire genomes frozen in slumps before the ice melts in our warm waters.

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“Thus, the possibility that cryo-preserved squid and/or octopus eggs arrived in snowmobile racetracks several hundred million years ago should not be ruled out,” they wrote.

In his review of the article, the medical researcher Keith Bafferstock From the University of Eastern Finland I acknowledge that there is a lot of evidence that fits reasonably well with HW’s thesis, such as the strange chronology of the emergence of viruses.

But this is not the way science advances.

“I think this article justifies questioning the scientific value of independent theories of the origin of life,” Jade Baverstock on time.

“Weighing reasonable, but inconclusive evidence, however great, is not the case.”

While the idea is as new and exciting as it is provocative, nothing in the abstract helps us understand the history of life on Earth better than current guesses, adding little value to our evolution model.

However, with strong caveats, perhaps science can handle a generous dose of craziness now and then.

Newspaper editor Dennis Noble acknowledges that “more research is needed”, to put it mildly.

But given the developments in organic space chemistry in recent years, there is room for discussion.

“As space chemistry and biology become increasingly important, a journal devoted to the interaction between physics and biology should encourage discussion” Nabil said.

“In the future, ideas will certainly become testable.”

Just in case these tests confirm any speculation, we recommend that you be well prepared for the return of our cephalopod masters. Who knows when they want to collect those eggs?

This research was published in Advances in biophysics and molecular biology.

A version of this article first appeared in August 2018.

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