April 11, 2012
Intelligent Dinosaurs On Other Planets Hostile?
>Are we better off not meeting up with dinos which may have survived and evolved intelligence on other planets.
New scientific research raises the possibility that advanced versions of T. rex and other dinosaurs — monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans — may be the life forms that evolved on other planets in the universe. "We would be better off not meeting them," concludes the study, which appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Will some intelligences just be implacably hostile? Ronald Breslow is concerned about the geometry of their amino acids. But if they have a different geometry we won't be able to eat them and vice versa. Mutual toxicity. How's that a problem?
In the report, noted scientist Ronald Breslow, Ph.D., discusses the century-old mystery of why the building blocks of terrestrial amino acids (which make up proteins), sugars, and the genetic materials DNA and RNA exist mainly in one orientation or shape. There are two possible orientations, left and right, which mirror each other in the same way as hands. This is known as "chirality." In order for life to arise, proteins, for instance, must contain only one chiral form of amino acids, left or right. With the exception of a few bacteria, amino acids in all life on Earth have the left-handed orientation. Most sugars have a right-handed orientation. How did that so-called homochirality, the predominance of one chiral form, happen?
Breslow describes evidence supporting the idea that the unusual amino acids carried to a lifeless Earth by meteorites about 4 billion years ago set the pattern for normal amino acids with the L-geometry, the kind in terrestial proteins, and how those could lead to D-sugars of the kind in DNA.
"Of course," Breslow says, "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."
I'm thinking T.Rex from another planet will want to hunt us down and kill us for sport even if we aren't edible.
At first I thought, April Fools Day. Then I thought maybe someone has taken what Ronald Breslow said and run with it to try to get the most buzz. Third thought, Ronald is getting a bit old and his being eaten by space dinosaurs phobia is getting harder to keep under control.
But yes, a planet where intelligent carnivourous dinosaurs are the dominant species would be just terrible. Fortunately we live on a world where gentle apes rule and differences are settled through sexual athletics. Oh wait, that's Planet of the Bonobos. We live on the Planet of the Naked Apes and it's a terrible place. We only just stopped killing each other like yesterday. No wait, he got him - we stopped killing each other about three seconds ago.
So David Icke is right about Reptilians? OMG!
We're a pretty peaceful species, all told. There's plenty of others out there. Eric Flint played around with this in a nice little sci-fi novel called "Mother of Demons," which is actually free-to-read on Baen Books. Worth the read if you like your pulp fiction on the smart side.
If the dinosaurs didn't get peaceful enough to collectively undertake large projects, they're not going to get off their own planet.
We could handle the discovery of such a planet easily. Option one, treat it as a nature preserve. Option two, replace its ecosystem with one that's more to our liking. Even if the chirality is opposite to ours, that's not going to be a problem for our biotech within just a few years; infectious agents and decomposers which convert D-isomers to L-isomers would go through alien stuff like wildfire and leave the products as perfect raw materials for terrestrial life.
Giant ants from space
Snuff the human race.
Then they eat your face,
Never leave a trace.
La la la ...
They shoot fire all around.
Tokyo burns down.
The moon falls on the ground.
La la la ...
They can't be stopped at all.
The buildings start to fall.
Soldiers shoot all day
And then they run away.
La la la ...
The world is holocaust.
Everything is lost.
Mankind is destroyed.
Sprinkled in the void.
La la la ...
Fortunately for us humans, by the time we're able to visit other solar systems, we'll be capable of directing an asteroid up an hostile's backside, like Chicxulub at the K-T boundary.
My take is that any species that manages to survive to space travel on an interstellar basis is likely to be extremely risk averse.
Note, I said risk averse, NOT peaceful. The two have some overlap bu they aren't the same thing.
So, let's say said species believes that it could costlessly exterminate humanity, probably by dropping asteriods on it or some similar mechanism. Given that they probably know about how technological development often goes (a very very sharp rise in a very short period of time, not necessarily very predictable in advance), I can easily see them adopting the Berzerker algorithm. Not out of any real malice, just deciding that this other species presented an unacceptable risk over the time frame of thousands of years.
Hmm, Kirk v. the Gorn? Sorry, but the less complex "primitive" reptilian/avian brains just do not match up well against those of mammals, much less primates. No capability for abstactions, no complex emotions, no linguistic potential. Not a contender. Just a survivor, in favorable niches.
The headline and the quote are lame, insofar as chirality and dinosaur-populated planets are unrelated concepts.
Might be a little less lame if they'd mention that we'd be a low-cal undigestible snack for said opposite-chirality dinosaurs.
"New scientific research raises the possibility that advanced versions of T. rex and other dinosaurs — monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans — may be the life forms that evolved on other planets in the universe."
This is a very liberal use of the words "scientific" and "research". Dinosaurs came in all shapes and sizes. An "advanced version of T. Rex" makes as much sense as saying that an Orca is an advanced version of a hippopotamus. What does that even mean? An intelligent descendent of T. Rex 60 million years on could very easily be 5 feet tall and vegetarian - there are a lot of tradeoffs an organism has to make on the road to intelligence. The odds of a creature with the size and lifestyle of a T.Rex acquiring intelligence seem vanishingly low. The energy requirements to run that body, and the time needed to spend looking for food, didn't allow for a large brain. Not to mention the fact that a T. Rex type creature has a very limited ability to manipulate tools, has limited jaw mobility so probably can't develop spoken language, etc. etc.