Sat, 19 Jan 2013 05:04 UTC
In a recently published article in the Journal of Cosmology titled Fossil Diatoms in a New Carbonaceous Meteorite, scientists from the UK and Sri Lanka claim to have found fossilized algae in a meteorite.
The paper alleges that "microscopic fossilized diatoms were found in the sample," which fell in Sri Lanka in December last year. The finding, the work suggests is a "strong evidence to support the theory of cometary panspermia."The theory argues that life across planets is spread by meteorites and asteroids. Panspermia suggests that life could have existed on another planet and moved to Earth.
The scientists concluded the paper by saying "the presence of structures of this kind in any extra-terrestrial setting could be construed as unequivocal proof of biology."
Samples from the rock were collected immediately after a large meteorite disintegrated and fell in the village of Araganwila in Sri Lanka on 29 December 2012.
The scientific community, including Prof Francis Thackeray from the Institute of Human Evolution at Wits University welcomed the report as "very exciting" yet "very controversial", as samples could have been contaminated on earth, Business Day reports.