I for one welcome our new dinosaur overlords

I have just stumbled across the most astonishingly brilliant “science” story.

Scientist Dr Richard Breslow claims that advanced dinosaurs may rule other worlds in a article published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Having been raised on a diet of Doctor Who and Star Trek, I got rather excited by all of this.

It turned out to be a discussion on the chemical structures of sugars and amino acids. Something rather odd (or particularly dull, depending on your view of chemistry) is that some molecules are asymmetric and therefore they can exist in two froms, as mirror images of each other: just like our hands. (As always, Wikipedia covers it quite well.) Because of the way biology works, only one form – one mirror image – of a molecule occurs in nature. The enzymes responsible for controlling the biochemical reactions that keep us alive only deal with one form of the chemical.

In his paper, Dr Breslow discusses why only one form predominates in nature; all amino acids have a left-handed orientation, most sugars (including DNA) have a right-handed orientation. He suggests that life on other planets could evolve to use either form, but meteorites that crashed to Earth 4 million years ago carried the left-handed isoform of amino acids may be the origin of the dominance of the left-handed forms of amino acids, and right-handed sugars in the present.

I fail to see how he managed to segue into explaining that with alternative forms of these molecules being dominant on other planets leads to the rise of the dinosaurs as the superior species “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.”



Post script: I heard this week that the paper has been withdrawn from the journal because of accusations of self-plagiarism. 😦

  1. Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: