Scientist: Dinosaurs May Rule Alien Worlds

Yahoo Contributor Network

Do dinosaurs rule other planets, as they used to rule the Earth more than 60 million years ago? That is the suggestion of Ronald Breslow, Ph.D., a noted Columbia University researcher, in a paper published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

What is Dr. Breslow's theory?

According to the ACS's Eureka Alert, Breslow discusses the nature of amino acids as the building blocks of life on Earth. Amino acids can have a left handed (or L-geometry) or right handed (or D-geometry) orientation. For life to arise, proteins, which are made up of amino acids, must have one or the other kind.

Except for some forms of bacteria, life on Earth is made up of L-geometry proteins. Sugars, also made up of amino acids, are D-geometry.

Breslow suspects that the reason why terrestrial life is oriented this way is that billions of years ago, meteorites brought amino acids the Earth which started the evolution of life.

Could there be planets in which the other kind of amino acids started life?

Breslow theorizes that amino acids with the D-geometry could have been carried by meteorites to other planets, starting evolution of a different sort of life.

Where do dinosaurs come in?

Breslow suggests that on other planets, intelligent life could have evolved from dinosaurs, similar to tyrannosaurus rexes and velociraptors. Such creatures would combine intelligence with predatory orientation that would make them dangerous to meet by future space explorers on Earth

Why didn't dinosaurs evolve into intelligent species on Earth?

Earth may still be dominated by dinosaurs except for a catastrophic even that took place tens of millions of years ago. Two years ago, the New York Daily News related the ongoing discussion of how the dinosaurs, which dominated the Earth for tens of millions of years, came to be extinct. The most accepted theory is that an asteroid hit the Earth in the vicinity of the Yucatan 65.5 million years ago. This resulted in an explosion a billion times more powerful than the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima. A heat wave was generated that burned all life that it touched. Debris and water vapor were shot into the air and covered the Earth, blotting out the sun for a decade. 90 percent of all life that existed at the time was wiped out. What was left included the ancestors of mammals, including modern human beings.

Did the Yucatan strike seed other worlds with dinosaurs?

The Register relates another paper published in the Cornell Earth and Planetary Astrophysics Journal that the Yucatan strike shot out meteors laden with bits of dinosaur DNA which in turn found root on other planets, eventually evolving into dinosaur-like life forms.

Mark R. Whittington is the author of Children of Apollo and The Last Moonwalker. He has written on space subjects for a variety of periodicals, including The Houston Chronicle, The Washington Post, USA Today, the L.A. Times, and The Weekly Standard.

View Comments (1253)