The road to determining whether life outside of planet Earth actually exists has taken us down many strange paths and theories, most of which have failed to provide us with any tangible or concrete evidence.
However, it appears the mystery as to whether there’s life on other planets has been staring us right in the face all this time… or rather, the ocean.
A new study has determined octopus are not originally from Earth, instead, they came to this planet millions of years ago via a meteor from space.
I’ll admit, the idea sounds very far-fetched, you’d be pardoned for thinking it came from the mind of a struggling screenwriter’s idea for a B-list science fiction movie premiering on the SyFy channel. But according to a team of 33 scientists across the world, the theory is very real.
Their study, which has been published in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, claims octopuses actually originated from outer space.
It’s suggested the octopuses came about after the Cambrian explosion – a sudden burst of life which occurred around 540 million years ago.
The paper poses the question as to whether the rapid emergence of the main animal groups, which currently roam Earth, was a result of a ‘terrestrial or cosmic’ event. They came to the latter conclusion.
Researchers believe an alien virus crash-landed on Earth, via a meteor, and infected the planet’s primitive squid, causing them to evolve into the octopuses we see today. Another wild theory in the paper suggests the meteor contained fertilised squid or octopus eggs.
The concept bears a similarity to the ‘panspermia’ hypothesis. It suggests life on Earth was ‘seeded’ by space dust or asteroids crash landing on Earth.
One of the panspermia’s most vocal advocates, Chandra Wickramasinghe, also happens to be one of the authors of the new paper, which states:
It is plausible then to suggest they seem to be borrowed from a far distant ‘future’ in terms of terrestrial evolution, or more realistically from the cosmos at large.
Such an extraterrestrial origin as an explanation of emergence of course runs counter to the prevailing dominant paradigm.
However, the paper is already being discredited by the scientific community, according to the Independent, who see it as nothing more than a ‘ridiculous and unscientific’ theory.
In a series of tweets, Mark Carnall, from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, pointed out none of the authors on the paper work in zoology.
Furthermore, most of the paper’s theory is based on the belief the genetic makeup of the octopus, and it’s relatives, remain a mystery.
However, a paper from 2015, which was published in Nature, uncovered the mystery surrounding the octopus genome. Their genes suggest they’re part of a popular theory on evolution and therefore require no hostile takeovers from extraterrestrials.
Professor Karin Moelling, a molecular geneticist from the Max Planck Institute Molecular Genetics was asked to review the paper.
She came to the conclusion the paper ‘cannot be taken seriously’, adding the lack of ‘evidence’ as her primary reason for her disbelief.
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