A new study argues that a real-life “Jurassic World” could currently exist, just on another planet.
Planets far away from Earth could be harboring species that resemble Earth’s dinosaurs and humans may currently have the ability to find them, according to a new study published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society journal.
The Sun reported that Lisa Kaltenegger, the study’s author, said: “Modern Earth’s light fingerprint is our template for identifying potential habitable planets. But there was a period when this fingerprint was more pronounced – better at showing signs of life.”
Researchers on Earth can detect this life by looking for compounds that are no longer present today but were in the time of dinosaurs. This is because Earth’s oxygen levels were higher, around 30% when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. This allowed for the growth of complex creatures. Earth’s oxygen level has remained at 21% today.
Researchers argue that the high oxygen levels on the planet could provide a clue as to the type of life present there. They note that telescopes are able to detect conditions similar to those dinosaurs faced millions of years before.
Scientists can look for clues by determining whether a planet has reached a Phanerozoic phase, which allows it to support large and complex forms of life.
Rebecca Payne, a scientist at Cornell University, told The Sun that the Phanerozoic was only the latest 12% of Earth’s past but covered nearly the entire time when life was more complicated than microbes or sponges. This gives us hope that we might find life – even large and complex life – elsewhere in the universe.
Kaltenegger said that searching for planets that have higher oxygen levels could lead to interesting life forms and make the search easier.
Kaltenegger stated, “I hope we find planets with more oxygen than Earth at the moment because it will make our search for life a bit easier.” “And who knows? Maybe there are still dinosaurs out there waiting to be discovered.”