19 February 2012

Souped up

Armen Mulkidjanian makes the case that life as we know it originated in freshwater thermal springs not unlike Darwin's warm little pond. Jack Szostack is sympathetic but Nick Lane continues to argue that deep sea vents are a more likely starting point. Martin Brasier, who discovered the oldest fossils so far -- 3.43 billion year old bacteria in Australian rocks -- holds fire. He says 'The rock record is the only safe witness we have.'

I tried to cover these issues in outline in the Xenophyophore and Yeti crab chapters my forthcoming book.  It looks as if I didn't go too far wrong.


Paul said...

I thought for a moment that you had done a chapter on yetis, and was getting very excited.

Caspar Henderson said...

Ha! No, there's very little cryptozoology in the book. As far as I can remember there's no mention of gigantopithecus, a ten foot tall 'orangutan' which probably went extinct in the Pleistocene, but which some people like to think lived on to become to the prototype of the Yeti. There's a passing reference to the idea that the elasmotherium, a giant rhino that once roamed the Russian steppes, is the original of the unicorn. Unfortunately I couldn't find any serious people who believed this. Some of the whackiest cryptozoologists are creationists who think pterosaurs still live on Mount Ararat and various other places.