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Fossil found in meteorite

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#26 llanitedave

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 04:04 PM

So a comet's mass is not sufficient enough to store the required heat for life or liquid water even if it has a short periodic orbit around our sun. Could life not exist within these constraints, even if it meant a period of hibernation? Perhaps when the comet's orbit increases or decreases its' distance from the sun, freezing and thawing would cause periods of thriving life or hibernation?

Todd


There are two questions here:

1. "Could life exist under these conditions?"
2. "Could diatoms exist under these conditions?"

We don't even have to find a perfect answer to #1 in order to give a firm "NO" to #2.

And #2 is what the claim is consisting of. It's clearly bogus.

#27 Mike Casey

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 06:42 PM

Red Rain of Kerala in 2001

More grist for the mill.

"The red rain analysed at the MRI in Colombo has been shown to contain red biological cells that show viability as well as motility. Preliminary studies from EDX analysis show that these cells are similar to the cells found in the red rain of Kerala that fell in 2001, cells that have not yet been identified with any known terrestrial organism (Louis and Kumar, 2006; Gangappa et al, 2010)." ~ FOSSIL DIATOMS IN A NEW CARBONACEOUS METEORITE

"In November 2001, commissioned by the Government of India's Department of Science & Technology, the Center for Earth Science Studies (CESS) and the Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI) issued a joint report which concluded that:[5][18] The color was found to be due to the presence of a large amount of spores of a lichen-forming alga belonging to the genus Trentepohlia. Field verification showed that the region had plenty of such lichens. Samples of lichen taken from Changanacherry area, when cultured in an algal growth medium, also showed the presence of the same species of algae. Both samples (from rainwater and from trees) produced the same kind of algae, indicating that the spores seen in the rainwater most probably came from local sources." ~ Wikipedia

#28 TVG

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 07:51 PM

Okay, thanks for the explanations everybody, but you sure know how to ruin a weekend. Here I was planning to go out with my rock hammer and metal detector to find fossils in meteorites. :smirk:

Todd

#29 Glassthrower

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 10:46 PM

Well, there is always the possibility, albeit remote, that a fossil could be found in a meteorite. But it hasn't happened yet, or if it has, it has not been proven yet.

Meteorites hold a lot of secrets and they can teach us much about the conditions present during early solar system history. They also helped seed the infant Earth with water, amino acids, and volatile organic compounds. The Murchison meteorite is a good example that touches on this.

But this journal and paper are overly optimistic and a classic case of very intelligent people making fundamental errors in judgement. Just because something looks like fossil, doesn't make it fossil. What's more, just because something looks like a meteorite, doesn't mean it is.

Best regards,

MikeG

PS - we may have just had a new and legitimate meteorite fall in Colombia.

#30 Ian Robinson

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 01:48 AM

Not having read the paper, is there an isotope profile done to confirm non-terrestrial origin ?

#31 GlennLeDrew  Happy Birthday!

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 03:39 AM

Immediately upon reading that this 'paper' appeared in the Journal of Cosmology, my first thought was, "What is this journal I'd never heard of?" My second question; "Why is a matter for planetary scientists published in a 'cosmology' journal?" This took all of two seconds, and my skepticism ruled out clicking the link.

#32 Ravenous

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:31 AM

And third, the lead author of the paper itself is also one of the journal's senior staff. So I wonder which of his peers reviewed his paper first.

#33 Ravenous

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 04:38 AM

No, no isotope ratio analysis that I could find.

Also they seem to think it's from a comet simply because it fell (or something in the area was observed to fall) on around the same day of the year as an earlier fall...

#34 dickbill

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 09:41 AM

I may be possible to have airborne water particles that carry microorganisms, after a tropical huricane for example, and when they meet a dust storm they aggregate until a big chunk form and falls back on the ground.
And we get plenty of these hurricanes and dust storms, they mentioned the possible reoccurence of the infamous dust bowl forming storm, not far from the tropical hurricanes from the Mexico golf. In asia, that's be the dust storm from australia maybe. Just an idea.

#35 Reflector

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 11:34 AM

I have a problem with the concept of "fossilized diatoms".

One of the researchers' defenses against possible accusations of contamination is that the diatom structures had a chemical composition similar to the meteorite matrix. This would imply that the diatoms were associated with the piece of rock for ages and ages, and is therefore not a recent accidental contamination. Fair enough, but ...

As mentioned earlier in this thread, diatoms are microscopic algae encased in a pill-box shaped silica shell (the frustule). Now, silica (glass) is pretty darn stable. So much so, that it is a classic example of a material (calcite being another) that gives rise to "unaltered fossils". In contrast, materials like wood and bone frequently fossilize through a chemical replacement mechanism whereby the specimen basically turns into rock. This does not happen to diatoms, and so recently deceased diatoms will be chemically indistinguishable from long-dead or so-called "fossilized" diatoms. But this does not quite gel with the finding in the article:

EDX studies on all the larger putative biological structures showed only minor differentials in elemental abundances between the structures themselves and the surrounding material, implying that the larger objects represent microfossils rather than living or recently living cells.


Just a thought.

#36 Ira

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Posted 17 January 2013 - 08:42 PM

Considering the probability alone (even if life did exist on every planet in our solar system), the chances are about the same as finding "Hamlet" written by a bunch of monkeys at typewriters, i.e., essentially zero.

/Ira

#37 llanitedave

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:24 PM

I have a problem with the concept of "fossilized diatoms".

One of the researchers' defenses against possible accusations of contamination is that the diatom structures had a chemical composition similar to the meteorite matrix. This would imply that the diatoms were associated with the piece of rock for ages and ages, and is therefore not a recent accidental contamination. Fair enough, but ...

As mentioned earlier in this thread, diatoms are microscopic algae encased in a pill-box shaped silica shell (the frustule). Now, silica (glass) is pretty darn stable. So much so, that it is a classic example of a material (calcite being another) that gives rise to "unaltered fossils". In contrast, materials like wood and bone frequently fossilize through a chemical replacement mechanism whereby the specimen basically turns into rock. This does not happen to diatoms, and so recently deceased diatoms will be chemically indistinguishable from long-dead or so-called "fossilized" diatoms. But this does not quite gel with the finding in the article:

EDX studies on all the larger putative biological structures showed only minor differentials in elemental abundances between the structures themselves and the surrounding material, implying that the larger objects represent microfossils rather than living or recently living cells.


Just a thought.


It's a pretty poor comparison anyway, since the most likely fate for a dead diatom is to for its empty shell to be filled with material from its immediate surroundings. Most rock is mostly silica, so a silica shell isn't going to cause a blip in elemental abundances. And since the shell is hollow, and fills with local material, having similar elemental abundances is what you'd expect, just as much for recently dead as for fossilized diatoms -- which is just what you said!

#38 Joad

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 07:36 PM

What puzzles me is why reputable scientists should choose to publish their findings in this way, rather than submitting their paper to an impeccable journal. They should know perfectly well that the credibility of their claim can get obscured by the source of their publication, and that if what they have is the real deal the solid journals will publish it. All it takes is a little patience. I can only conclude that scientists have succumbed to the same publicity mania that everyone else has.

#39 llanitedave

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:40 PM

Not everyone else. But there's always that 10%.

#40 Jason H.

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:34 PM

Link to wikpedia article on Polonnaruwa Meteorite

See criticism too.

Jason H.

#41 jkaiser

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:48 AM

I am very skeptical about this.

#42 SteveMushynsky

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 05:39 PM

Journal of Cosmology is well known in the planetary science community....as being the National Enquirer in the world of science journals. It is not peer reviewed. It does not exist in print. It has a history of publishing poorly written papers by authors with dubious credentials.


A number of such 'journals' exist online. Pseudoscience fringists, outraged that the established real scientific journals rejected their theories, created their own 'journals' so that their work can be legitimized by 'publishing' and review by their own questionable peers.

You too can be a published, peer reviewed authority...

#43 ianfromoz

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 08:15 AM

If true it would clearly suggest that life is indeed elsewhere in the universe, but then again could it not be possible that life on Earth is the start of life within the universe, i.e first life?
After all life had to start somewhere, so why not here?

#44 llanitedave

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Posted 29 December 2013 - 12:02 PM

Why not? It's an intriguing question for science fiction, but there's no way to express it as a testable scientific hypothesis at the moment.

#45 Ravenous

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 03:39 AM

could it not be possible that life on Earth is the start of life within the universe, i.e first life?

Sure. In fact that's a reasonable guess - after all it's taken this long for metals and other heavy elements to increase in quantity, through stellar nucleosynthesis and so on.

It always struck me as odd that various science fiction writers seem to just assume that there are ten-billion-year old civilisations out there, which would have originated when there was very little else in the universe but Hydrogen and Helium.

Then again, what I just wrote has more than just a few assumptions too!

#46 llanitedave

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 12:06 PM

Ten billion would be kind of old, but there's no logical reason why civilization-supporting star systems can't be as much as two or three billion years older than ours.

#47 rdandrea

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 05:24 PM

Journal of Cosmology is well known in the planetary science community....as being the National Enquirer in the world of science journals.


That's giving the Journal of Cosmology too much credit. At least the Enquirer gets one right once in a while. I'd say more like the "Weekly World News" of "science" journals.

"Space aliens ate my dog" etc...

#48 Rick Woods

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 06:11 PM

The "Mad Magazine" of journals...?

#49 Glassthrower

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 06:51 PM

Journals like this one do play a valuable role in science - by showing us how science can go wrong. Very educated people can make fundamental mistakes. The key mistake in this story is that the original specimen was never verified as a meteorite and is not a meteorite. The rest of the paper is moot.

#50 Pess

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 11:22 AM

1) Is it a meteorite? YES NO

2) If a meteorite, is it extra-terrestrial origin? YES NO

3) IF extra-Terrestrial, Mars? Venus? Seti Alpha 6? YES NO

Pesse (Why make it more complicated?) Mist






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