What was old is once new again, as a new study discusses the possibility of advanced, cunning, and intelligent dinosaur-like creatures living on other planets in our universe. To add to the frightening image, the study simply concludes with the thought, “We would be better off not meeting them.”
This research appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Scientist Ronald Breslow, Ph. D., author of the report, discusses an old and puzzling mystery of why the core and foundations of amino acids, sugars, and the genetic materials DNA and RNA have only one orientation or shape.
These genetic materials have only two possible ways in which they are oriented, left or right, mirroring one another, resembling a pair of hands. This orientation is known as Chirality. In order for life to form from this genetic material, proteins, for example, must have only one chiral form of the amino acids, either left-facing or right-facing. With few bacterial exceptions, all the amino acids in all the life on earth have a left-handed orientation. Sugars, on the other hand, will most often have a right-handed orientation. Breslow says the reason there is such a dominance of one orientation can be found in the first amino acids to arrive at Earth, carried by meteorites all those billions of years ago. According to Breslow, these amino acids set a pattern for an L-geometry, leading to the D-shaped sugars found in DNA.
So how does one draw the line of conclusion between L-shaped acids and D-shaped sugars and advanced, cunning, and intelligent super dinosaurs?
Even Breslow says there´s no way to know for sure if these proteins could produce such a creature, but suggests if these alien monsters had the good fortune not to be wiped out by a massive meteor as Earth´s dinosaurs were, then by now they´d be quite advanced.
According to his research, Dr. Breslow says, “Of course, showing that it could have happened this way is not the same as showing that it did.” He adds: “An implication from this work is that elsewhere in the universe there could be life forms based on D-amino acids and L-sugars. Such life forms could well be advanced versions of dinosaurs, if mammals did not have the good fortune to have the dinosaurs wiped out by an asteroidal collision, as on Earth. We would be better off not meeting them.”
If this logical jump from backwards genetic orientation to super advanced dinosaurs seems like a bit of a stretch, you aren´t alone.
“None of this has anything to do with dinosaurs,” writes Brian Switek in Dinosaur Tracking, a blog for Smithsonian.com.
Switek mentions the earliest dinosaurs on earth didn´t originate until 230 million years ago, out of the time frame of 4 billion suggested by Breslow. Furthermore, Switek says the dinosaurs were only allowed to grow and evolve on this planet because the ruling species at the time (Triassic dinosaurs, who Switek describes as small, rare, and marginal) were wiped out due to mass extinction. Only then did what we know as “dinosaurs” today come to be. Breslow´s assumption these creatures would have the same story as Earth´s dinosaurs and evolve in the same way is a bit generous.
Switek also points out the genetic legacy of dinosaurs exists even today. Birds are from the lineage of dinosaurs, and some species of birds are even quite intelligent. In conclusion, Switek writes: “A simple shift in our understanding of dinosaur evolution has rescued the beloved creatures from extinction. I deeply doubt that there are dinosaurs in space, but I am glad that at least one variety of feathered dinosaur remains with us here.”