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FOSSIL DIATOMS IN A NEW CARBONACEOUS METEORITE

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Description: We report the discovery for the first time of diatom frustules in a carbonaceous
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cr1t
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« on: January 15, 2013, 11:59:48 AM »

http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Polonnaruwa-meteorite.pdf

What you guys make of it?
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 13:14:20 PM »

Holy guacamole, I don't know WHAT to think! There's no doubt that the images are of organisms, and the pictures are far superior to the debatable ones lifted from "Mars rocks" some years ago. They are almost too good, considering their age, which, if authentic, must at least hail from an earlier generation solar system. What a tantalizing find!
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 13:54:03 PM »

Wickramasinghe has been obsessed with panspermia for ages. I'll wait for the rebuttal by skeptics before making up my mind on this...
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 14:15:46 PM »

It should be straight forward. As I see it there are only 2 criteria*:

1. The rock must be extraterrestrial. Are there sure fire ways of telling?
2. The rock must be uncontaminated by terrestrial diatom fossils. Diatomaceous earth has several applications. Is it possible that the porous meteor could have bounced off some discarded filter media?

Rigil

ETA: *Assuming that no one cheated, of course. Cool
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 17:09:48 PM by Rigil Kent » Logged
Brian
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 15:01:04 PM »

As you say: if genuine it's flipp'n awesome. Nice basis for a scifi book: fossils invade earth: wait for next comet to wake up and devour human flesh!
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 15:16:10 PM »

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 16:43:52 PM »

Incidentally, how does one pronounce the word "diatom"? Is it "die-atom" or "dia-tom"?
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 17:00:04 PM »

Is it "die-atom" or "dia-tom"?
DIet-tim.
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Brian
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 17:41:05 PM »

here we are debating a fucking pronunciation whilst a (potentially) mind-blowing diatom is discovered on a piece of a meteorite and while BM says it requires extraordinary evidence (which I agree with), I have discovered nothing that negates the report thus far; as I am not qualified to express jay or nay I will also reserve judgement but how cool if it is above board and what if the red rain was the seeding of the planet to kickstart life! Mebbe I'm just naive, but it's lekker to speculate. 
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 18:53:42 PM »

The article states that the meteor disintegrated, but that a fragment was subsequently sent for analysis. The confirmation that it is an extraterrestrial carbonaceous chondrite seems to hinge solely on the finding that it contains a good whack of carbon.  Undecided
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A few percent carbon as revealed by EDX analysis confirms the status of a carbonaceous meteorite.

Unfortunately the article says nothing about how the sample was obtained, sealed and shipped. And also if other rocks in the vicinity are devoid of coal.

here we are debating a fucking pronunciation whilst a (potentially) mind-blowing diatom is discovered on a piece of a meteorite
Well sure, but a rose by any other name kinda stinks   Tongue

Rigil
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 19:28:49 PM by Rigil Kent » Logged
Rigil Kent
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« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2013, 19:20:07 PM »

The Wikipedia entry on the Journal of Cosmology

If the meteorite fell in Sri Lanka on December 29th, 2012, then the publication of a properly peer reviewed article less than two weeks hence is kinda fast, isn't it?

Rigil
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« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2013, 19:27:36 PM »

The Wikipedia entry on the Journal of Cosmology

If the meteorite fell in Sri Lanka on December 29th, 2012, then the publication of a properly peer reviewed article less than two weeks hence is kinda fast, isn't it?

Rigil

Maybe the aliens are not here after all.
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2013, 19:54:43 PM »

One of the researchers' defenses against possible accusations of contamination is that the diatom structures had a chemical composition similar to the meteorite matrix.

Now, diatoms are microscopic algae encased in a silica shell, and silica is pretty darn stable. So much so, in fact, 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:

Quote
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.

Rigil
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Mefiante
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« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2013, 20:01:58 PM »

If the meteorite fell in Sri Lanka on December 29th, 2012, then the publication of a properly peer reviewed article less than two weeks hence is kinda fast, isn't it?
Yes — but there’s a maxim in science that goes “Publish or perish!”  Well, more of an imperative, really.  And it has lots to do with this situation.  Also, in science precedence is (mostly) everything, and with a good topic, a seasoned scientist can roll off a paper in a few days and have it accepted for publication immediately.



Maybe the aliens are not here after all.
Unless it’s a mock-up by the Men in Black! Wink

'Luthon64
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2013, 20:46:21 PM »

Here's an interesting explanation from one Kon Dealer, in a sister thread over at Cloudy Nights

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There was a large marine impact event 65 million year ago. It was probably responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs. Who knows how much material was ejected into space?


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