Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe.
I want to believe the conclusions of a new paper that says octopuses are actually space aliens whose frozen eggs first came to Earth aboard an icy meteor. I want to believe that humans, too, are aliens — the final descendants of an extraterrestrial virus that crashed to Earth 540 million years ago and sent evolution spiraling into wild new directions. I want to believe that the universe is one giant biosphere, tossing the same building blocks of life from planet to planet in a never-ending game of cosmic hot potato.
I want to believe these things because they are cool and fascinating — but I probably shouldn’t. Because right now, there is still almost no evidence for any of this. And researchers not involved with this study have serious reservations about its conclusion.
Still, that did not stop a team of 33 authors from publishing a recent peer-reviewed paper that hypothesized all of these things and more. The paper, published March 13 in the journal Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology, had a simple if unusual thesis: The Cambrian explosion— that sudden burst of biodiversity during which most modern animal groups first appeared in the fossil record some 540 million years ago — was the direct result of an extraterrestrial virus that crashed to Earth in a meteor impact.