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#1 2004-03-10 18:45:02

From: Santa Cruz, CA
Registered: 2004-02-13
Posts: 252

Re: Fossils on Mars - discuss fossil images and musings here

Does … 72M2M1.jpg image reveal a fossil or is it just another trick of light & shadow? … 72M2M1.jpg

it seems to be a clear image of a six-legged insect-like object, kind of like a tick, with perfect symetry, no legs out of place, looking like an embossed fossil of an aphid or something with that sort of insectoidal shape straddling the spherule and flattened along its contour, its body and head straight facing up to the right and just below the largest bump that is visible on the spherule. If this exists and is a fossilized organism, then what could be the process to fossilize something liek this? im trying to imagine what a food chain on mars would be like. could the spherule be loose enough for a martian bug to crawl squeeze in the space to be part of a food chain feeding off the sulfur-eating bacteria thriving on the wet soil/spherule interface (maybe thats why some of the spherules have pocks and notches and dimples, theyve been partially consumed or eroded by biological action or secretions...) and then something happened and it got stuck and pressed to be fossilized flat like this? or maybe just the fossilized part is harder and hasnt eroded so it sticks up in relief, though only a fraction of a millimeter. Its clear that this is a very shallow embossing on the spherule and its only visible due to the incident light angle casting the shadow very clearly outlining the subtle form against the spherule. of course it could be merely coincidental arrangement of spherule textures...

I was used to thinking that Mars was just too harsh and resource-poor to allow multicellular life to evolve, and so we'd have no hope of finding anything but the fossilized excretions of single-cell microbes, but then again, evolutionary pressures might have pushed evolution along much faster than on Earth where life could have just slacked for billions of years in its comfort zone before doing anything more interesting...

"I think it would be a good idea". - Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.


#2 2004-03-10 18:51:18

Yang Liwei Rocket
Registered: 2004-03-03
Posts: 993

Re: Fossils on Mars - discuss fossil images and musings here

its tricks, but good picture nonetheless

'first steps are not for cheap, think about it...
did China build a great Wall in a day ?' ( Y L R newmars forum member )


#3 2004-03-16 13:46:48

Marineris Sauce
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: 2004-01-15
Posts: 39

Re: Fossils on Mars - discuss fossil images and musings here

Fossils on Mars?

It's so easy for this (me) arm chair fossil hunter and professional backseat observer to come to these snap conclusions based on observation of photos alone. For me anyway, it's too tempting to fall into the 'Hoagland trap' of biasly looking for and projecting my desires onto inanimate things. (albeit, Hoagland seems to make his living from this delusional practice, to the dismay of many in the scientific community.) Having said that though, it can be fun to speculate, I suppose, as long as the speculation remains 'fun'.

(now...    what are those damnable blueberries made of?!!) :bars:


#4 2015-06-08 20:07:00

From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,385

Re: Fossils on Mars - discuss fossil images and musings here

Well if Mars is like earth in the process of creation and cooling then the direction from there is life as we would know it.

Shaun wrote:

Latest news from the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah (MDRS):


Well, an area of dinosaur fossils, first located serendipitously by a MDRS crew in 2002, has now proven to be a huge find. smile 
Petrified wood and microbes which live inside rocks - endoliths - were also discovered.

The Mars Society learned last week that the dinosaur fossil discovery made by the organization in Lith Canyon during Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) Crew 1 in 2002 and amplified by further data gathered from subsequent crews by MDRS Director Shannon Rupert, has, upon investigation by professional paleontologists, now led to one of the largest dinosaur fossil finds in history. Huge quantities of fossils of Jurassic dinosaurs, including Apatosaurus (aka Brontosaurus), Diplodocus, Allosaurus and many other species have been unearthed in the area. According to Dr. Scott Williams of the Burpee Museum of Natural History, who is leading the dig, the find is "as significant as Dinosaur National Monument."

As you may also remember, I have high hopes that the Curiosity rover may yet discover some kind of macroscopic fossils on Mars. Although no one (not even me!) actually expects to find dinosaur skeletons there.

Nevertheless, I've seen rocks on Mars which look strikingly similar to Earthly stromatolite fossils, and multiple small formations which look very much to me like terrestrial shellfish fossils.
Interestingly, it appears there are those at the Mars Society who think along the same lines.

While we do not expect to find dinosaur fossils on Mars, the search for fossils left behind by simpler organisms, such as stromatolites, which may have evolved and lived on the surface during the Red Planet’s early warm and wet history, will be a critical part of the science program of the first human missions to Mars. Thus the MDRS field paleontological exploration effort will serve both as a direct analog to learn how to explore on Mars, while playing a significant role in furthering important scientific research on Earth.

The way human agility, flexibility of decision-making, and intuition, were all involved in the important discovery was also mentioned smile  :

Commenting on the development, Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin said; “This discovery really shows how important it is to send human explorers to Mars. We traveled out 5 kilometers that day, a distance that it took the MER rovers several years to traverse, climbed a hill that no rover could climb to obtain a view that allowed us to discover the canyon, then made a spontaneous un-rover-committee-like decision to go into the canyon, then climbed down a descent into it that no rover could manage, and then explored the canyon, using perceptive and intuitive abilities natural to humans but far beyond the capacities of any robotic rover to discover both endoliths and dinosaur fossils. You could have landed scores of rovers in that desert and never made either of those discoveries. Furthermore, now that professional paleontologists are on the scene, those finds are being followed up in a way that is light years beyond the capabilities of tele-operated rovers.

I agree.
This whole episode establishes the point very convincingly. There is no substitute for human explorers on Mars! B)


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