There are few questions more mystifying than the origin of life on Earth. Were the building blocks of cellular life forged in an early primordial soup and lit on fire by lightning? Or was life carried here by an asteroid, as posited by the panspermia theory?
In the last few decades, a particular species has caught the eye of scientists researching the panspermia theory. Now there is a new paper, “Cause of Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic?”, published in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. The new research suggests that the explosion of life on Earth during the Cambrian period 540 million years ago may have been buttressed by molecules of alien life that hitchhiked here on cosmic debris.
One species that may have resulted from this is a non-Earth based version of the octopus.
The paper’s abstract stated…
…a very plausible conclusion – life may have been seeded here on Earth by life-bearing comets as soon as conditions on Earth allowed it to flourish (about or just before 4.1 Billion years ago); and living organisms such as space-resistant and space-hardy bacteria, viruses, more complex eukaryotic cells, fertilised ova and seeds have been continuously delivered ever since to Earth so being one important driver of further terrestrial evolution which has resulted in considerable genetic diversity and which has led to the emergence of mankind.
Citing anomalies in the species’ central nervous system, their “camera-like eyes,” and their genetic adaptations that did not seem to flow from their evolutionary ancestors, the authors state that fertilized octopus eggs from another star system or galaxy may have traveled to the Earth on an icy comet and crashed into the ocean. Alternatively, an alien virus may have attacked early families of squid and caused their sudden evolution.
The theory is not without its mainstream critics, of course, but it’s fascinating to imagine the genesis of life on Earth originating elsewhere. Even that, though, would still not explain the origin of life itself.