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Old 05-23-2008, 03:52 AM   #1
Achilles
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Extreme Life Found a Mile Below Seafloor

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Scientists have found life about twice as far below the seafloor as has ever been documented before. A coring sample off the coast of Newfoundland turned up single-celled microbes living in searing temperatures about a mile (1,626 meters) below the seafloor.

"These are probably not only the deepest, but the hottest organisms found in deep marine sediments," said R. John Parkes, a geobiologist at Cardiff University in Wales. "I was hoping we would find them this deep, so we were very excited that we actually did confirm they were present. It's fascinating to know what proportion of our planet actually has living organisms in it."
Apparently we have a new record for extremophiles!

The most important part of the article is this:
Quote:
"Until we know what's there on Earth, we're not going to have a clue what's possible on other planets," Parkes said. "I think people have taken the message from this type of work that it's no longer sufficient to take a scoop of Martian soil from the surface and say there's no life. If life on Earth can go as deep as several kilometers, there's no reason why that wouldn't be true under similar conditions on another planet."
This makes me even more excited about the prospect for sending life-seeking probes to other potential candidates within our solar system, such as Europa.
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Old 05-23-2008, 05:39 AM   #2
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Wow, tough little beasties eh?

And I see their point about not finding life outside of space until we've documented our own little scrap of the cosmos. Mind you, there is still the fact that Earth's conditions are unusually hospitable, so it still seems unlikely to me. On the other hand, my main experience of extra-terrestrialo life is sci-fi novels, so....
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:18 AM   #3
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I agree with Salzella, but playing devil's advocate... while Earth's conditions are "unusually hospitable", that hospitality doesn't extend to a mile below the ocean floor.

However, if the life forms that exist there started on the Earth's surface and evolved to be able to live that far below the surface, which seems likely, that would make it tougher to believe life exists below the surface of any other known planet.



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Old 05-23-2008, 09:20 AM   #4
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Archaebacteria are very cool. I'm sure we'll find more little creatures as our ability to reach these areas improves. I'd love to see if there's life in other places, but there's so much to do here 'at home' that I think we won't be able to divert resources to a comprehensive research program for quite some time.


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Old 05-23-2008, 09:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
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Apparently we have a new record for extremophiles!
Impressive... Most Impressive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
The most important part of the article is this:
This makes me even more excited about the prospect for sending life-seeking probes to other potential candidates within our solar system, such as Europa.
I remain sceptical as to if any life exsists within our solar system, and would hypthesize that life in general is a rarety in the universe, however given thare are some 58 trillion other planets out there, I would think it extremely long odds for us to be alone.

I think Europa could well provide to be a good colonization opportunity in the future.



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Old 05-23-2008, 09:40 AM   #6
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Excellent!


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Old 05-23-2008, 11:14 AM   #7
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Cool! Those bacteria 'boldly go where no bacteria has gone before.'

On an off-topic yet related note: (I named the Dalasians in my 'The Great Dark War' story by a wierd scientific name I made up: Extremophilious Reptillious Aquaticus Decallia Predator Sentiente, )


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Old 05-23-2008, 12:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
This makes me even more excited about the prospect for sending life-seeking probes to other potential candidates within our solar system, such as Europa.
I agree.

In fact, I have long harbored a feeling that extreme lifeforms (similar to the ones on earth) exist deep in Mars. The Mars Rovers kind of confirmed this, but not thoroghly.


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Old 05-23-2008, 12:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Salzella
Mind you, there is still the fact that Earth's conditions are unusually hospitable, so it still seems unlikely to me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wiki
An extremophile is an organism that thrives in and may even require physically or geochemically extreme conditions that are detrimental to the majority of life on Earth.
"Unusually hospitable" eh? Alright

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
I agree with Salzella, but playing devil's advocate... while Earth's conditions are "unusually hospitable", that hospitality doesn't extend to a mile below the ocean floor.
Or next to ocean floor vents or under tons of ice, etc. That's why these organisms are so cool. Conventional wisdom told us that these conditions were not capable of sustaining life, yet when we went to look, life was teeming. So guess what happens to the hypothesis that life is only possible within a certain set of conditions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
However, if the life forms that exist there started on the Earth's surface and evolved to be able to live that far below the surface, which seems likely, that would make it tougher to believe life exists below the surface of any other known planet.
What makes you think it started up here and moved down there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
I remain sceptical as to if any life exsists within our solar system, and would hypthesize that life in general is a rarety in the universe, however given thare are some 58 trillion other planets out there, I would think it extremely long odds for us to be alone.
If you don't mind me asking:

1) How did you get 58 trillion?
2) What makes you think the odds are long?

If the science is not pointing to life being more resilient (rather than less so), wouldn't that increase the possibility of life elsewhere rather than decrease it? I guess I'm not understanding how you came to that conclusion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
I think Europa could well provide to be a good colonization opportunity in the future.
For us? Probably not (no land ), however there are other places that could work. The purpose of sending geological probes there wouldn't be for colonization though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by *Don*
I agree.

In fact, I have long harbored a feeling that extreme lifeforms (similar to the ones on earth) exist deep in Mars. The Mars Rovers kind of confirmed this, but not thoroghly.
If nothing else, they did confirm that liquid water was present at some point in Mars' past. I'll be sad to see them go
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Old 05-23-2008, 01:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
What makes you think it started up here and moved down there?
I'm not an expert, but from what I've learned, in order for life to have begun on the surface of the Earth, only a couple of possibilities exist. One - it was brought here from another place, perhaps by a meteorite. Two - life spawned from what was existing on Earth at the time, with just the right mix of temperature, water, air, enzymes, etc.

If you believe the first example (life arriving by meteorite), then of course life would have started on the surface (or in the oceans) and moved down.

If you believe the second example (life spawning from the perfect mix of elements), it seems that is much more likely to occur on the surface, rather than a mile below the ocean's floor.

Of course there are other possibilities for the start of life on the planet, and I'm sure I'm leaving some of the conventional ones out, but from what I've learned it just seems much more likely that life started on the surface and worked its way down.


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Old 05-23-2008, 01:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
If you don't mind me asking:
Yeah I do

Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
1) How did you get 58 trillion?
I thought that was the number of estimated planets in the universe? Though last time I had checked ther were only around 300 confirmed planets out there. Please correct me if I'm wrong....

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Originally Posted by Achilles
2) What makes you think the odds are long?
Miscomunication; I was saying that I don't think we are alone, given the number of planets, I think it would be long odds if we are the only life in the universe. I think several of those dots up their must have life of some sort on them, though we could very well be the most technologically advanced.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
If the science is not pointing to life being more resilient (rather than less so), wouldn't that increase the possibility of life elsewhere rather than decrease it? I guess I'm not understanding how you came to that conclusion.
See above

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Originally Posted by Achilles
For us? Probably not (no land ), however there are other places that could work. The purpose of sending geological probes there wouldn't be for colonization though.
Could we not build something ontop of the ice? I was also thinking it had the added advantage of having a water source.



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Old 05-23-2008, 01:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
I'm not an expert, but from what I've learned, in order for life to have begun on the surface of the Earth, only a couple of possibilities exist.
First, what do we mean by "surface"? The current hypothesis point toward the first self-replicating chemical strings existing inside a particular type of clay. Clay can be found under water, under ground, etc, so I think we need to be very specific with what we mean by "surface".

Nevermind that we could be artificially constraining our range of possibilities by limiting the example to "in order for life to have begun on the surface of the Earth"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
One - it was brought here from another place, perhaps by a meteorite.
This doesn't answer the question so much as temporarily move it elsewhere. If life came here via a meteor, then we know how it got here, but then we're still stuck answering how it started where ever it came from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
Two - life spawned from what was existing on Earth at the time, with just the right mix of temperature, water, air, enzymes, etc.
Yes and no. Yes, that's essentially what abiogenesis suggests. No, those aren't the actual "ingredients" required. The whole point of the article is that we're still adding to and subtracting from "the shopping list".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
If you believe the first example (life arriving by meteorite), then of course life would have started on the surface (or in the oceans) and moved down.
Maybe yes and maybe no. Clearly, the newly arrived ingredients would start out up here, but erosion, seismic activity, etc may have been responsible for taking them elsewhere (where the process started). We just don't know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
If you believe the second example (life spawning from the perfect mix of elements), it seems that is much more likely to occur on the surface, rather than a mile below the ocean's floor.
Why is that? If all you need are xyz conditions, then why does it matter if those conditions are at the surface or a mile underground? What if, at the end of the day, the science suggests that one of those conditions is being a mile underground?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
Of course there are other possibilities for the start of life on the planet, and I'm sure I'm leaving some of the conventional ones out, but from what I've learned it just seems much more likely that life started on the surface and worked its way down.
Okay.

Thanks for reading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Yeah I do
Thought you might

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Originally Posted by jonathan7
I thought that was the number of estimated planets in the universe? Though last time I had checked ther were only around 300 confirmed planets out there. Please correct me if I'm wrong....
I'm not aware of any firm estimates, which is why I was curious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Miscomunication; I was saying that I don't think we are alone, given the number of planets, I think it would be long odds if we are the only life in the universe.
Ah, gotcha. Yes, I absolutely agree.

(sorry about that )

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
Could we not build something ontop of the ice?
Perhaps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan7
I was also thinking it had the added advantage of having a water source.
Liquid water does not equal fresh water.

Last edited by Achilles; 05-23-2008 at 01:49 PM. Reason: response for J7
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:21 PM   #13
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Liquid water does not equal fresh water.
But it makes it a damn sight easier for us that there is water, even if it is contaminated than if we had to bring it from earth/have hydrogen react with oxygen


Checking out seems not to do much.
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
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But it makes it a damn sight easier for us that there is water, even if it is contaminated than if we had to bring it from earth/have hydrogen react with oxygen
I didn't mean "fresh" as in "uncontaminated". The liquid water that they think existed on Mars would have been pink or brown, highly acidic, and very corrosive. Who knows what the water under the surface of Europa is like? So it's not a matter of boiling it to make it potable, it's a matter of chemically altering it so that it's more similar to what we think of when it comes to "water".
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Old 05-23-2008, 02:44 PM   #15
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My terrible english strikes again (you said what I meant by contaminated) I would think it would be easier to get drinkable water out of it than mixing hydrogen and oxygen, and at least easier than transporting it from somewhere else. Besides it might be used as a source of oxygen.


Checking out seems not to do much.
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Old 05-23-2008, 04:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
First, what do we mean by "surface"? The current hypothesis point toward the first self-replicating chemical strings existing inside a particular type of clay. Clay can be found under water, under ground, etc, so I think we need to be very specific with what we mean by "surface".
By "surface", I meant on the crust of the earth, not a mile below it (whether below the ocean floor or land).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
This doesn't answer the question so much as temporarily move it elsewhere. If life came here via a meteor, then we know how it got here, but then we're still stuck answering how it started where ever it came from.
That's fine, but if it did come via meteorite, the life would have had to move down or else start on its own, mutually exclusive from the life provided by the meteorite. Possible? Yes, but highly unlikely.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Why is that? If all you need are xyz conditions, then why does it matter if those conditions are at the surface or a mile underground? What if, at the end of the day, the science suggests that one of those conditions is being a mile underground?
You're making my point for me. I agree that all that is needed is xyz conditions, but stipulated that those conditions, as we currently know them, are significantly more likely to occur on the surface of the planet, not a mile beneath it.


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Old 05-23-2008, 05:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
This makes me even more excited about the prospect for sending life-seeking probes to other potential candidates within our solar system, such as Europa.
Awesome, and indeed I hope I'm alive when we do find extra-terrestrial life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salzella
..so it still seems unlikely to me.
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.

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Old 05-23-2008, 05:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
By "surface", I meant on the crust of the earth, not a mile below it (whether below the ocean floor or land).
A mile beneath the surface is still the crust

Beneath the crust is the mantle (a.k.a. "lava").

Link

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
That's fine, but if it did come via meteorite, the life would have had to move down or else start on its own, mutually exclusive from the life provided by the meteorite. Possible? Yes, but highly unlikely.
Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
You're making my point for me.
I don't see how considering that we are saying completely different things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter
I agree that all that is needed is xyz conditions, but stipulated that those conditions, as we currently know them, are significantly more likely to occur on the surface of the planet, not a mile beneath it.
Based on what? It really does sound as though you're just guessing.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:20 AM   #19
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Those are great news. And it borders idiotic to not seek for life further if it's not immediately found at the surface.

Are there any estimates on how old those archaea are?


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Old 05-24-2008, 03:54 PM   #20
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Are there any estimates on how old those archaea are?
I would hope that info would be in the Science article (which was published yesterday). I don't have a subscription, but perhaps someone else here does.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:10 PM   #21
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Wow, life nearly a mile below the sea floor! That is pretty amazing...

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Old 05-25-2008, 12:45 AM   #22
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A mile beneath the surface is still the crust Beneath the crust is the mantle (a.k.a. "lava").
I said on the crust, not in it. I think you're arguing now just for the sake of arguing.
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Why?
Do you really disagree? Do you really think it's equally as likely that life formed below the Earth's surface, on it's own, mutually exclusive from the life brought from a meteorite?
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I don't see how considering that we are saying completely different things.
I won't respond to this since it doesn't stand alone, and you did respond to the following statements.
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Based on what? It really does sound as though you're just guessing.
I am guessing, certainly, since I am not anywhere near an expert in this field; but I'm using common sense while doing so. One of the most important factors of "primordial soup" or abiogenesis is photosynthesis, which requires sunlight. There's no sunlight a mile below the Earth's surface.


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Old 05-25-2008, 01:13 AM   #23
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Honestly, I'll only care if there's life on other planets if they have awesome technology or can be easily subjugated and made to do my bidding.



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Old 05-25-2008, 01:45 AM   #24
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Quote:
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I said on the crust, not in it.
Saying "a mile below it" indicated to me that you were confused about what the crust was. *shrugs*

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Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter View Post
Do you really disagree? Do you really think it's equally as likely that life formed below the Earth's surface, on it's own, mutually exclusive from the life brought from a meteorite?
Please don't answer my questions with questions. You said it was highly unlikely. Please explain why.

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I won't respond to this since it doesn't stand alone, and you did respond to the following statements.
I absolutely did. You even quoted my reply in your response and offered a response of your own.

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I am guessing, certainly, since I am not anywhere near an expert in this field; but I'm using common sense while doing so.
I'm sure all the biochemists studying abiogenesis will be deeply troubled to learn that they wasted all that time and effort acquiring advanced degrees when all they need was "common sense" and a little guesswork.

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One of the most important factors of "primordial soup" or abiogenesis is photosynthesis, which requires sunlight.
Source please?

*wonders how is the food-making process for plants is related to the evolution of self-replicating strands of chemicals*

(hint: "primordial soup" and "abiogenesis" are not the same thing. One is a set of conditions and one is a process)

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Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter View Post
There's no sunlight a mile below the Earth's surface.
Nope, but since sunlight isn't a requirement, I don't see how that has much relevance.

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Originally Posted by jmac7142
Honestly, I'll only care if there's life on other planets if they have awesome technology or can be easily subjugated and made to do my bidding.
Don't forget hawt.
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Old 05-25-2008, 01:48 AM   #25
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Don't forget hawt.
Whatever, God invented paper bags for a reason.



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Old 05-25-2008, 12:09 PM   #26
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Saying "a mile below it" indicated to me that you were confused about what the crust was. *shrugs*
I'm not sure how you would think that, since I was defining how I was using the word "surface", which is "the exterior or upper boundary of an object or body" (webster.com).

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Please don't answer my questions with questions. You said it was highly unlikely. Please explain why.
I honestly can't believe you'd even choose to argue this. If it takes a perfect set of consequences (xyz) for abiogenesis to occur, and we are assuming that it didn't occur on the surface and it was brought to Earth by meteorite, then it would be extremely unlikely that, mutually exclusive from the meteorite event, abiogenesis would occur on the very same planet a mile below the surface that life was brought to by meteorite . Observing your past comments you'll probably just ask "why?" again.

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I absolutely did. You even quoted my reply in your response and offered a response of your own.
I guess you didn't read my statement correctly, or misinterpreted it. I said the same thing you did. Go back and read it again. You responded to one sentence that didn't stand alone, and then responded to the rest afterward. That's why I wrote I wasn't responding to the one sentence and chose to respond to the following statements instead, since that's what was relevant.

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I'm sure all the biochemists studying abiogenesis will be deeply troubled to learn that they wasted all that time and effort acquiring advanced degrees when all they need was "common sense" and a little guesswork.
You're making a huge leap here. I said I was nowhere near an expert, but using the knowledge I do have I can make educated guesses on what's more likely. If you took that to mean I can guess correctly as well as a biochemist can, then you are sorely mistaken.

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Source please?

*wonders how is the food-making process for plants is related to the evolution of self-replicating strands of chemicals*

(hint: "primordial soup" and "abiogenesis" are not the same thing. One is a set of conditions and one is a process)
As for a source, I initially drew from memory from what I had learned in school for photosynthesis being part of abiogenesis. Since you asked for a source, I looked it up on wikipedia just to see if I was way off base, and I found this in the first paragraph:
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Originally Posted by Wikipedia
In the natural sciences, abiogenesis, the question of the origin of life, is the study of how life on Earth emerged from non-life. Scientific consensus is that abiogenesis occurred sometime between 4.4 billion years ago, when water vapor first liquefied,[2] and 2.7 billion years ago, when the ratio of stable isotopes of carbon (12C and 13C), iron (56Fe, 57Fe, and 58Fe) and sulfur (32S, 33S, 34S, and 36S) points to a biogenic origin of minerals and sediments[3][4] and molecular biomarkers indicate photosynthesis.[5][6] This topic also includes panspermia and other exogenic theories regarding possible extra-planetary or extraterrestrial origins of life.[7]
After reading on quite a bit there are many different theories for abiogenesis, some which involve photosynthesis and some that do not. So, again, I'll stipulate that I'm not anywhere close to an expert, but drawing upon my memory from high school biology I remembered sunlight being important and in popular abiogenesis theories, it is.

(hint: if you type in "primordial soup" in wikipedia, it redirects you to "abiogenesis"... hmm... perhaps the two are closely related? I'm not saying they're the same thing (I never did), but both are germane to the discussion and it was not inappropriate for me to include both of them in my statement.)


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Old 05-25-2008, 03:35 PM   #27
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I'm not sure how you would think that, since I was defining how I was using the word "surface", which is "the exterior or upper boundary of an object or body" (webster.com).
Yes, clearly.

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I honestly can't believe you'd even choose to argue this. If it takes a perfect set of consequences (xyz) for abiogenesis to occur, and we are assuming that it didn't occur on the surface and it was brought to Earth by meteorite, then it would be extremely unlikely that, mutually exclusive from the meteorite event, abiogenesis would occur on the very same planet a mile below the surface that life was brought to by meteorite . Observing your past comments you'll probably just ask "why?" again.
Indeed I will, as you've yet to answer the question (you simply repeated your position). If you're going to rule out all possible explanation except the one that you like the most, or personally find most plausible, you have to tell us why we should too.

If you're arguing that the result was product of a meteor (exogenesis) then why can't the conditions that have existed where ever the meteor came from also exist here? If they exist here, then why couldn't live spring up in more than one place? More than one time? You're asking us to accept that it could only happen in one place at one time but you aren't telling us why, only that your educated guess is that it's highly unlikely.

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I guess you didn't read my statement correctly, or misinterpreted it. I said the same thing you did. Go back and read it again. You responded to one sentence that didn't stand alone, and then responded to the rest afterward. That's why I wrote I wasn't responding to the one sentence and chose to respond to the following statements instead, since that's what was relevant.
The only thing our comments have in common is that they include references to "xyz conditions". And clearly you and I are very much in disagreement about where those conditions can exist (I'll even go so far as to point out that we probably disagree on what those conditions are). So either we are not "saying the same thing" or we should recognize that we are in complete agreement based on the fact that we are both communicating via the English language.

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You're making a huge leap here. I said I was nowhere near an expert, but using the knowledge I do have I can make educated guesses on what's more likely. If you took that to mean I can guess correctly as well as a biochemist can, then you are sorely mistaken.
I was merely pointing out that you seem to think that your educated guesses are just as credible as their research.

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As for a source, I initially drew from memory from what I had learned in school for photosynthesis being part of abiogenesis. Since you asked for a source, I looked it up on wikipedia just to see if I was way off base, and I found this in the first paragraph:
<snip>
And drawing upon my memory from high school biology (I guess technically I could also be drawing upon college biology too), I recall that photosynthesis is a process that takes place at the cellular level.

Since we're talking about the process that would have lead us up to cells and then eventually organisms, I guess I'll have to defer to whomever anonymously edited that wiki to explain how that's possible. (hint: the sources that the line reference talk about biosynthesis and photosynthesis in bacteria, not photosynthesis as a "requirement for abiogenesis").

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After reading on quite a bit there are many different theories for abiogenesis, some which involve photosynthesis and some that do not.
Yes, after reading, I imagine that you read quite a bit about some of the existing and historic hypothesis about abiogenesis. However none of them list photosynthesis as a requirement.

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So, again, I'll stipulate that I'm not anywhere close to an expert, but drawing upon my memory from high school biology I remembered sunlight being important and in popular abiogenesis theories, it is.
Heat is a requirement. Sunlight is not. Heat can come from geothermal sources as well, hence why they are capable of finding organisms a mile below the crust surface. I hope that helps.

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(hint: if you type in "primordial soup" in wikipedia, it redirects you to "abiogenesis"... hmm... perhaps the two are closely related?
How does this explain why you suggested they were interchangable?

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I'm not saying they're the same thing (I never did), but both are germane to the discussion and it was not inappropriate for me to include both of them in my statement.)
Actually you did. But I'm willing to drop the mistake if you are.

Thanks for your response.
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Old 05-25-2008, 04:57 PM   #28
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I was just about to go back and follow the same format we have been for this discussion, where we quote reply each section of the response and dissect what the other said, but I feel we've hijacked this thread for our personal argument and strayed from the discussion topic to one more centered around semantics. I'm not surprised the argument has taken this route; it's common when people take personally the fact that people disagree with their logic.

I will say that I did not intend to suggest that primordial soup and abiogenesis were interchangeable; if my statements using the two were unclear and led to your misinterpretation I apologize for not more explicitly using the terms. I do, however, fully believe that dissecting the usage of those words was not germane to the topic, which leads back to my first paragraph's statements above.

I will also have to defer to whomever edited the wiki about abiogenesis and photosynthesis being related. I did find the following on the same wiki, regarding photosynthesis and its relevance in creating living cells - it seems to point to photosynthesis as a method of providing energy to primitive cells:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiki
The bubbles produced in these experiments were between 10 to 40 micrometers, or about the size of red blood cells. Remarkably, the bubbles fluoresced, or glowed, when exposed to UV light. Absorbing UV and converting it into visible light in this way was considered one possible way of providing energy to a primitive cell. If such bubbles played a role in the origin of life, the fluorescence could have been a precursor to primitive photosynthesis. Such fluorescence also provides the benefit of acting as a sunscreen, diffusing any damage that otherwise would be inflicted by T Tauri star UV radiation. Such a protective function would have been vital for life on the early Earth, since the ozone layer, which blocks out the sun's most destructive UV rays, did not form until after photosynthetic life began to produce oxygen
I'd also like to point out that I'm not asking you (or anyone else) to believe anything. I'm not writing a dissertation or attempting to convince the masses that my ideas on this subject are correct. IMO, based on everything I know on the topic (which is clearly limited), it's significantly more likely that life began on the surface and worked it's way down to a mile below the surface. I could be completely wrong and I fully recognize that, but I think based on what we currently know of abiogenesis and exogenesis, it's a fair assumption to make. If you want to argue that, it's fine, but you're going about it the wrong way. Instead of trying to attack my personal character/experience/knowledge, you should tell/educate/posit why it's at least equally likely that life first formed a mile below the surface as compared to on the surface. I am all ears to someone who is more qualified than I am that can help to educate me, as I find the topic interesting. However, instead of doing so, you've decided to attack my personal credibility, which I was never attempting to assert in the first place.

I haven't been on the boards all that long, but this is the 2nd discussion we've had where you've used this tactic. You (incorrectly) assumed that I believed I watched an HD clip embedded in a flash video of the Clone Wars trailer. You chose to discredit me by saying I googled HD and labeled myself an expert, which was far from the truth. I watched a 720p clip, not embedded in a flash video, and verified my assumption that 720p was considered HD using wikipedia. Then you changed your tactic to dissecting my words instead of my argument, and claimed that you had been talking about Full-HD and me S-HD the entire time. Isn't S-HD still HD? Isn't red Gatorade still Gatorade? Perhaps you don't mean to sound condescending when you type your posts, but, at least to me, you come across that way.

Perhaps you're not an expert on abiogenesis like you are on HD technology, but if you are, or even if you're not but you know more than me, please attack my statements by showing me how it is equally likely that life formed a mile below the surface as compared to on the surface. I'd love to learn. I personally believe that would be much more effective than attempting to belittle me by comparing me to biochemists that I never asserted myself as an equal to on the subject.

So, following this post, I will gladly continue this conversation if that's the method you take. If, however, you respond as you have been, I will simply abandon the discussion because it's too frustrating to continue an attempt at an involved discussion with someone who strays off-topic and spends more time attempting to discredit their opponent rather than discuss the topic at hand. That's partially my fault too, so don't think I'm blaming you entirely for the direction this conversation has taken. I responded to your off-topic points one by one, which I should have avoided in the first place to prevent the discussion from heading this way.


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Old 05-25-2008, 11:46 PM   #29
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I will say that I did not intend to suggest that primordial soup and abiogenesis were interchangeable; if my statements using the two were unclear and led to your misinterpretation I apologize for not more explicitly using the terms.
Yes, the use of "or" is generally used to show that terms are interchangeable. Your use of "or" very much suggested that you were considering them to be interchangeable. Instead of acknowledging the mistake and allowing the dialog to continue, you've spent the last few exchanges attempting to deny that you did it. In the spirit of "better late than never" I acknowledge that you are now taking ownership of the mistake. No apology is necessary, however if it will make you feel better, please consider it accepted.

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I do, however, fully believe that dissecting the usage of those words was not germane to the topic, which leads back to my first paragraph's statements above.
Not everyone that reads this thread is going to be able to spot what is based in fact and what is conjecture. Lest we inadvertently inform someone that "primordial soup" = abiogenesis, I felt that a correction on that point was necessary.

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I did find the following on the same wiki, regarding photosynthesis and its relevance in creating living cells - it seems to point to photosynthesis as a method of providing energy to primitive cells
<snip>
Please make note of the qualifiers "if", "could", and "primative". Nothing here suggests that photosynthesis is a requirement, only that a primitive form of photosynthesis may have been present.

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IMO, based on everything I know on the topic (which is clearly limited), it's significantly more likely that life began on the surface and worked it's way down to a mile below the surface.
And you could be correct. However because you still haven't told us why, I have no reason to think that this idea has any merit whatsoever. Using the earlier discussion, it's not only that xyz conditions have be present, but they have to be present in a specific place. Why?

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I could be completely wrong and I fully recognize that, but I think based on what we currently know of abiogenesis and exogenesis, it's a fair assumption to make.
You mean "based on what you currently know".

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If you want to argue that, it's fine, but you're going about it the wrong way. Instead of trying to attack my personal character/experience/knowledge...
I'm not attacking you. I'm questioning your arguments. Big difference.

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...you should tell/educate/posit why it's at least equally likely that life first formed a mile below the surface as compared to on the surface.
I have. Repeatedly. Here it is again:

If the conditions necessary for the formation of life are present, then it is concievable that life can form there.

Your contention is that one of those conditions has to be "on the surface". Thus far, your rationale has been "because common sense says it should happen there". Hopefully you can understand why I do not find this persuasive.

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Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter View Post
However, instead of doing so, you've decided to attack my personal credibility, which I was never attempting to assert in the first place.
I'm sorry that you feel this has been happening.

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Originally Posted by Gurges-Ahter View Post
I haven't been on the boards all that long, but this is the 2nd discussion we've had where you've used this tactic. You (incorrectly) assumed that I believed I watched an HD clip embedded in a flash video of the Clone Wars trailer. You chose to discredit me by saying I googled HD and labeled myself an expert, which was far from the truth. I watched a 720p clip, not embedded in a flash video, and verified my assumption that 720p was considered HD using wikipedia. Then you changed your tactic to dissecting my words instead of my argument, and claimed that you had been talking about Full-HD and me S-HD the entire time. Isn't S-HD still HD? Isn't red Gatorade still Gatorade? Perhaps you don't mean to sound condescending when you type your posts, but, at least to me, you come across that way.
I'm afraid you have me confused with someone else. Unless someone has hijacked my profile, I can assure you that I have not participated in any discussion re: a Clone Wars trailer, let alone one in which I attacked you.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:15 AM   #30
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Oops - That was AstroToy - my mistake.

The rest I still believe to be accurate, although I don't really care that you don't.


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Old 05-26-2008, 07:52 AM   #31
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"Unusually hospitable" eh? Alright
My goodness me, I do apologize for not being 100% knowledgeable on every aspect of miscroscopic biology. Deary deary me...
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:35 AM   #32
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My goodness me, I do apologize for not being 100% knowledgeable on every aspect of miscroscopic biology. Deary deary me...
No need to be. It may have helped to read the article that was linked to in the first post before responding though.

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Originally Posted by the article
The newly-discovered life likely gets its energy from methane. It thrives in 111 million-year-old rocks, enduring temperatures between 140 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 100 degrees Celsius). In this extreme environment, life is relatively sparse.

"There's no light around, there's no oxygen around," Parkes told LiveScience. "It's basically just rocks, but there is still some space for water, which the organisms need."
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:13 AM   #33
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That life did not develop within the crust is more likely simply because life (at least that one we're talking about hewre) needs liquid water to exist. It probably took hundreds of millions of years before there was water actually staying on the surface, and according to some physical laws it surely took somewhat longer for the crust one mile beneath the surface to cool down to a level where it could actually keep liquid water (and thus was in a temperature range becoming suitable for organic macromolecules to exist) and enough water went down there to give abiogenesis a chance.

So, at the end of the day, it is highly likely that abiogenesis happened in some "pond" on Earth's surface, and not in it's crust. It's also not the most illogical train of thought to assume that life which developed at the surface was simply spilled down into the crust later.

Anyway, since the sky was rather cloudy back then, sunlight supposedly did not play a big role in the process.


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Old 05-26-2008, 09:27 AM   #34
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That life did not develop within the crust is more likely simply because life (at least that one we're talking about hewre) needs liquid water to exist. It probably took hundreds of millions of years before there was water actually staying on the surface, and according to some physical laws it surely took somewhat longer for the crust one mile beneath the surface to cool down to a level where it could actually keep liquid water (and thus was in a temperature range becoming suitable for organic macromolecules to exist) and enough water went down there to give abiogenesis a chance.
Sure, but this assumes that abiogenesis would have taken place right about the same time that liquid water would have been present. Keep in mind that conservative estimates put approximately a billion years between when water was present and life appeared (doing this from memory so forgive me if my numbers are a little off).

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So, at the end of the day, it is highly likely that abiogenesis happened in some "pond" on Earth's surface, and not in it's crust. It's also not the most illogical train of thought to assume that life which developed at the surface was simply spilled down into the crust later.
The fun thing for me is that the whole point of this article is that modern scientific discoveries are forcing us to reconsider our assumptions about the conditions necessary for life. Despite the findings, we're still insisting they must be like what we've always thought they've been

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Anyway, since the sky was rather cloudy back then, sunlight supposedly did not play a big role in the process.
Indeed. Good hearing from you Mr. Jones
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:40 AM   #35
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Sure, but this assumes that abiogenesis would have taken place right about the same time that liquid water would have been present. Keep in mind that conservative estimates put approximately a billion years between when water was present and life appeared.
While I cannot say for sure I think these numbers refer to the presence of liquid water on the surface. I'd argue that volcanic activities and high temperatures in the crust worked against the presence of liquid water one mile below surface for quite some hundred million years more.

Following that, the bottom line of your argumentation would be that abiogenesis did not happen all those hundreds of millions of years we had liquid water on the surface, but as soon as the water ran into the ground and reached deeper regions of Earth's crust abiogenesis happened down there in that very moment, and then life dug its way up to the surface in like another million years where it then took advantage of the stable and comfortable habitats provided by already present oceans, which were infertile and unable to create life themselves?

Hm.

Possible. But thiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnn ice.

Quote:
The fun thing for me is that the whole point of this article is that modern scientific discoveries are forcing us to reconsider our assumptions about the conditions necessary for life. Despite the findings, we're still insisting they must be like what we've always thought they've been
Hey, I'm all for reconsidering assumptions, however, current ideas do not contradict life-in-the-crust(TM), so there's no explicit need to throw them off the ship.



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Old 05-26-2008, 11:10 AM   #36
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While I cannot say for sure I think these numbers refer to the presence of liquid water on the surface. I'd argue that volcanic activities and high temperatures in the crust worked against the presence of liquid water one mile below surface for quite some hundred million years more.
The scientist quoted in the article seemed to think that liquid water was capable of making its way down there now, so assuming that's the case, I don't see how we can rule it out in the past.

And sure, let's assume that the conditions were not condusive to a mile beneath the surface. How about half a mile? Several hundred feet? A few feet?

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Following that, the bottom line of your argumentation would be that abiogenesis did not happen all those hundreds of millions of years we had liquid water on the surface, but as soon as the water ran into the ground and reached deeper regions of Earth's crust abiogenesis happened down there in that very moment, and then life dug its way up to the surface in like another million years where it then took advantage of the stable and comfortable habitats provided by already present oceans, which where infertile and unable to create life themselves?
Not so much. Only that it seems conceivable that basic life (miscellaneous single-cell organisms, etc) could have formed deep with in the earth's crust, been pushed up to the surface via seismic activity (did you know that they've found whale fossils in the Andes?) where it was able/forced to evolve into life as we know it today. Maybe your assumption that conditions were "stable and comfortable" isn't correct (again, going back to having to rethink what "stable and comfortable" means in the first place).

Current observations already favor hypothesis which state that the early stages of abiogenesis took place in clay (not "on clay" or "near clay" but "in clay"), so I'm not seeing this as such a huge leap.

And yes, I'm perfectly willing to accept that abiogenesis took place at or near the surface. I really don't have any problem with that whatsoever. However I am trying to point out that discoveries such as these mean that we no longer have to limit our thinking to the surface.

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Hey, I'm all for reconsidering assumptions, however, current ideas do not contradict life-in-the-crust(TM), so there's no explicit need to throw them off the ship.
I agree

I'm not suggesting that the current hypothesis need to be dismissed. I'm not even arguing that you (or Gurges-Ahter) are wrong. Just kinda gently tapping the screen and saying "Hey guys, this thing right here *tink-tink-tink*...might not want to put all your eggs in that basket anymore"
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:50 AM   #37
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The scientist quoted in the article seemed to think that liquid water was capable of making its way down there now, so assuming that's the case, I don't see how we can rule it out in the past.
Not sure how you would want to make liquid water flow into and between several hundred °C hot stones? While it may now be below 100°C at 1 mile depth, it surely wasn't 3,000 million years ago.

Quote:
And sure, let's assume that the conditions were not condusive to a mile beneath the surface. How about half a mile? Several hundred feet? A few feet?
I think it really depends on the area you're looking at. Pretty sure is only that we had no seas and oceans for a very long time on the surface due to its temperature. So far I'd assume that the higher you go towards the surface, the better are chances to meet the right conditions (back then, of course).

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Not so much. Only that it seems conceivable that basic life (miscellaneous single-cell organisms, etc) could have formed deep with in the earth's crust, been pushed up to the surface via seismic activity (did you know that they've found whale fossils in the Andes?) where it was able/forced to evolve into life as we know it today.
I think there's a big difference between tectonic processes raising ocean floor (read surface) over million years killing off slow swimming whales and seismic/volcanic activities blurping up hot stones and magma from within the crust.

Quote:
Maybe your assumption that conditions were "stable and comfortable" isn't correct (again, going back to having to rethink what "stable and comfortable" means in the first place).
Please do not forget that organic macromolecules, the base for all life as we know it, are not stable enough at higher temperatures, and as far as I know not above 100°C anyway.

Quote:
Current observations already favor hypothesis which state that the early stages of abiogenesis took place in clay (not "on clay" or "near clay" but "in clay"), so I'm not seeing this as such a huge leap.
I'd even argue that a certain muddyness is/was necessary, and the fluidity of a water-only environment would have worked against the development of life-molecules. So, mud, yes, in clay, yes. And while one can argue that's already in-crust,.. well...no.

Quote:
And yes, I'm perfectly willing to accept that abiogenesis took place at or near the surface. I really don't have any problem with that whatsoever. However I am trying to point out that discoveries such as these mean that we no longer have to limit our thinking to the surface.
I never did that anyway.


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Old 05-26-2008, 01:17 PM   #38
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So far I'd assume that the higher you go towards the surface, the better are chances to meet the right conditions (back then, of course).
And those "right conditions" are...? Remember the entire point here is that we're having to rethink what that term means now.

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I think there's a big difference between tectonic processes raising ocean floor (read surface) over million years killing off slow swimming whales and seismic/volcanic activities blurping up hot stones and magma from within the crust.
I would agree, seeing as they are different things

I'm not arguing that they took the expressway up on a lava flow, so I'm not sure what your point is

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Please do not forget that organic macromolecules, the base for all life as we know it, are not stable enough at higher temperatures, and as far as I know not above 100C anyway.
I'll quote the article one more time:
Quote:
The newly-discovered life likely gets its energy from methane. It thrives in 111 million-year-old rocks, enduring temperatures between 140 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 100 degrees Celsius). In this extreme environment, life is relatively sparse.
Emphasis added.

It appears that your "higher temperatures" argument is at odds with the discovery, however your "above 100C anyway" qualifier seems safe enough for now.
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Old 05-26-2008, 02:11 PM   #39
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And those "right conditions" are...? Remember the entire point here is that we're having to rethink what that term means now.
What the right conditions are is another question. However, two pretty sure conditions are right temperature, below a significant mark and liquid water (additionally setting a range of temperature). Going up young Earth's crust we can easily observe a definite trend of temperature and water supply, thus, regardless of any other conditions, chances to meet the right conditions increase with decreasing depth.

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I'm not arguing that they took the expressway up on a lava flow, so I'm not sure what your point is
The point is, I'm not sure what your point was.

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It appears that your "higher temperatures" argument is at odds with the discovery, however your "above 100C anyway" qualifier seems safe enough for now.
Once more you ignore the fact that 3,000 million years ago, the whole planet's temperature was way higher, including the crust. Almost impossible to find a spot within it at deeper depths having only 100 C when the surface hardly allows water to stay on it.


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Old 05-26-2008, 05:32 PM   #40
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What the right conditions are is another question. However, two pretty sure conditions are right temperature, below a significant mark and liquid water (additionally setting a range of temperature). Going up young Earth's crust we can easily observe a definite trend of temperature and water supply, thus, regardless of any other conditions, chances to meet the right conditions increase with decreasing depth.
Sure.

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Originally Posted by Ray Jones View Post
The point is, I'm not sure what your point was.

Only that lots of things started out buried and ended up not buried over time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Jones View Post
Once more you ignore the fact that 3,000 million years ago, the whole planet's temperature was way higher, including the crust. Almost impossible to find a spot within it at deeper depths having only 100 C when the surface hardly allows water to stay on it.
Which part of your point do you feel that I am missing?

That the earth was once hotter? I haven't contested that.
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