What a New Form of Life Would Be Like
As we find more planets outside our solar system and more terrestrial life that survives brutal conditions, scientists are wondering what a completely new form of life might be like.
What's the Latest Development?
As we discover more planets outside our solar system and more terrestrial life that survives the most brutal of conditions, many are increasingly dissatisfied with the view that life as we know it is the limit of nature's genius. But what would a completely new form of life be like? Professor Gerald Joyce, from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, explains that "an organism could either arise directly through chemistry, or spin off from existing biology." Given that the only life we know is ours, however, it is impossible to estimate the probability of new life arising, either on Earth or elsewhere.
What's the Big Idea?
Joyce believes that hard science does not necessarily motivate our increasing belief that life must exist beyond our own planet, though he does say that hard science may help us to create new life forms in laboratories. "I think humans are lonely and long for another form of life in the universe," said Joyce, "preferably one that is intelligent and benevolent. But wishing upon a star does not make it so. We must either discover alternative life or construct it in the laboratory. Someday it may be discovered by a Columbus who travels to a distant world or, more likely in my opinion, invented by a Geppetto who toils at the workbench."
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.