Cambrian Explosion – A Cosmic Infection

I already posted this on Facebook, but I thought I would take a few mins to expand here.

The Hoyle-Wickramasinghe (H-W) conjecture asserts that life here not only started ‘out there‘, but ‘out there‘ has periodically being interfering with us ever since; raining down eggs and DNA from space.

A recent paper claims the entire Cambrian Explosion may have been the result of the extra-terrestrial contamination of our planet.

That octopuses arrived as ‘Eggs from Space’—mentioned as one possibility—, does seem a bit tenuous to me. But the other mechanism mentioned in the paper, that viruses arrived embedded in ‘boloids’ and proceeded to insert genes from a far more advanced planetary ecology (e.g. Martian Mollusks), while infecting early terrestrial life, sounds more plausible.


“The evolution from squid to octopus is compatible with a suite of genes inserted by extraterrestrial viruses.”


There is other evidence of Panspermia—from the Tardigrade, which proves that surviving space travel without a suit is not inconceivable for  biological organisms, to evidence of organic matter, including bacteria and viruses, appearing anomalously in the upper atmosphere.

Some highlights of the article:
“One particular focus are the recent studies which date the emergence of the complex retroviruses of vertebrate lines at or just before the Cambrian Explosion of ~500 Ma. Such viruses are known to be plausibly associated with major evolutionary genomic processes. We believe this coincidence is not fortuitous but is consistent with virus-bearing cometary-bolide bombardment events.”

“A second focus is the remarkable evolution of intelligent complexity (Cephal opods) culminating in the emergence of the Octopus.”

“A third focus concerns the micro-organism fossil evidence contained within meteorites as well as the detection in the upper atmosphere of apparent incoming life-bearing particles from space.”

“In our view the totality of the multifactorial data and critical analyses assembled by Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe and their many colleagues since the 1960s leads to a very plausible conclusion e life may have been seeded here on Earth by life-bearing comets as soon as conditions on Earth allowed it to flourish (about or just before 4.1 Billion years ago); and living organisms such as space-resistant and space-hardy bacteria, viruses, more complex eukaryotic cells, fertilised ova and seeds have been continuously delivered ever since to Earth so being one important driver of further terrestrial evolution which has resulted in considerable genetic diversity and which has led to the emergence of mankind…”

As one of my readers pointed out, this is contentious and far from generally accepted. However, fringe theories dismissed out of hand by the establishment do appeal to me!

It would certainly explain why all the SciFi aliens look so much like us… and seem to have no trouble making babies together!

Martian Octopus image: Cal MacDonald

Human Origins

The narrative of the transition from Ape to Man is contained within one astonishing cut in the film 2001…

…but 4 Million years of history contains a lot of potential stories. I am thinking about setting my next novel (after the Singularity’s Children series) back at the Dawn of Man.

It looks like we coexisted and even bred with many other species of Hominid and some of those seem to have been pretty smart. Recent discoveries show that Neanderthals were making cave art hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Neanderthal cave art, spain.

Haplo Groups‘ markers allow us to trace humanities deep ancestry. We (Homo Sapiens) left Africa 70K years ago to spread our seed across the world, mingling and mating with the local—as we tend to do.

We eventually replaced the ‘other‘ and history started…

But I love the gaps—into which stories can be inserted!

Maybe I will set it 12,800 Years Ago at the onset of the Younger Dryas, the fall of Eden and the interment of  Goebekli Tepe.

Anyway, I think there is plenty of material for a book set at the Dawn of Man…
…what do you think? Would you read it? Or shall I go 12,000 years the other way?


(image: Neanderthal with face paint – Viktor Deak)

Tech from Singularity’s Children – Spex

I write about a lot of near-future tech in my Singularity’s Children books. One example are the Spex, a combination of neural interface and augmented reality (AR) head-up-display.

To get an idea what it will look like from the inside, check out this over-the-top; but probably—sadly—all too accurate video from Keiichi Matsuda.

I believe AR is going to be huge, but will only really take off when combined with at least enough neural interfacing to extract sub-vocalized speech from the brain (or perhaps from nerves in the throat). Nobody is going to want to wander around in public mumbling to Alexa or Siri and risking eavesdropping!

Of course, it’s only a short step from extracting superficial speech to full on brain-to-brain communication; aka telepathy.

And if this sounds a bit futuristic, there are already scientist able to extract and reconstruct the images the subjects are observing.

Recording dreams is coming! How crazy is that?!

For more, even more, if you have a spare half hour, check out this super interesting interview with Mary Lou Jepsen on Rod Reid’s ‘After On’ podcast.