[Taxacom] More "Martian" fossils?

Steven R. Hill srhill at inhs.uiuc.edu
Tue Mar 8 17:04:03 CST 2011


Aren't these 'objects' as believable as Elso Barghoorn's discoveries 
in pre-Cambrian chert so long ago ?  It seems like we are somewhat 
basing our interpretations here either on faith or on our 
biases.  What we 'want to believe' has a lot to do with our 
interpretations of unprovable material.  We 'wanted' to believe Dr. 
Barghoorn but not Dr. Hoover?

At 04:45 PM 3/8/2011, David Campbell wrote:
> >       The Journal of Cosmology (apparently an online journal only) has
> > apparently published a recent paper by a Dr. Hoover with similar claims
> > (like those of NASA scientists back in the 1990s that Martian meteorites
> > from Antarctica contain microbial fossils similar to cyanobacteria on
> > Earth).  Those claims were highly criticized and these recent claims
> > seem even MORE doubtful (if they were not from more contaminatable sites
> > than the frozen Antarcitic).   My view continues to be that positive
> > proof of ancient Martian microbes wlll probably ultimately require
> > collection of rocks on Mars itself (not meteorites).  The less frozen
> > such meteorites are, the more likely they are prone to terrestrial
> > contamination.
>
>The new Hoover paper claims to have microbial fossils in a wide
>assortment of meteorites, mostly not of planetary origin.  The claim
>that life is present in asteroids and comets is rather implausible, to
>say the least, and the abstract's description of chemical tests
>failing to find nitrogen with older fossils sounds suspiciously like
>different modes of preservation were not taken into account-organic
>fossils need to be the reference for comparison to supposed
>carbon-rich fossils, not relatively inorganic exoskeletons.  Inorganic
>carbon can form tubes of varying dimensions and branching patterns.
>
>--
>Dr. David Campbell
>The Paleontological Research Institution
>1259 Trumansburg Road
>Ithaca NY 14850
>
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Dr. Steven R. Hill
Plant Systematics
Illinois Natural History Survey
Institute for Natural Resource Sustainability
University of Illinois
*1816 S. Oak Street
Champaign, IL 61820-6970

*Office still located in Rm. 382, Natural Resources Building, 607 
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Phone: (217) 244-8452
Fax: (217) 244-0729
srhill at mail.inhs.uiuc.edu
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