The Journal of the American Chemical Society sent out a press release today that, in addition to being wildly speculative, is also ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING OH GOD.
In three words: Cunning Space Dinosaurs
Here are the opening lines of the release:
New scientific research raises the possibility that advanced versions of T. rex and other dinosaurs - monstrous creatures with the intelligence and cunning of humans - may be the life forms that evolved on other planets in the universe. "We would be better off not meeting them," concludes the study, which appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Monstrous creatures. With the intelligence and cunning of humans. Advanced versions of T. rex. T. rex: Intermediate Level. We would be better off not meeting them but, you know what? It's not up to us. Space Dinosaurs decide if and when the meeting will happen. Space dinosaurs are gunning for blood.
Or, anyway, that's what the release would have us believe. Its main selling point, though, is actually derived from one-off wild conjecture tossed in, kind of jokingly, as the paper's last line. (So, while the study does, technically, conclude with the statement "We would be better off not meeting them," that wasn't really the main conclusion.)
In fact, the majority of "Evidence for the Likely Origin of Homochirality in Amino Acids, Sugars, and Nucleosides on Prebiotic Earth," written by Dr. Ronald Breslow, concerns itself not with hostile aliens at all, but, rather, with the shape ("orientation") of molecules that form the building blocks of life, like amino acids, sugars, and the genetic materials DNA and RNA.
Science time: These molecules can exist in one of two orientations that mirror one another in the same way left and right hands do. With the exception of a few bacteria, amino acids in all of life on Earth are oriented to the left. Most sugars are oriented to the right. These constraints of shape were crucial to the development of life, as we know it, on Earth, but it is unknown why they developed this way. Breslow's theory involves meteorites. Nerd stuff.
The spaceosaur twist comes at the paper's conclusion, when Dr. Breslow speculates that there might, in fact, be life forms that developed (on other, far-flung planets) from right-oriented amino acids and left-oriented sugars – in other words, life originating from terrestrial molecules shaped in the opposite way of Earth's.
This is where things get crazy. This is where the American Chemical Society press team ran wild.
"Such life forms could well be advanced versions of dinosaurs, if mammals did not have the good fortune to have the dinosaurs wiped out by an asteroidal collision, as on Earth. We would be better off not meeting them."
Except they definitely do exist and I forbid you all from going into space because I love you and I want to keep you safe.
[Image via Getty]