This honor goes to Dr. Ronald Breslow of Columbia University, who ended his recent paper "Evidence for the Likely Origin of Homochirality in Amino Acids, Sugars, and Nucleosides on Prebiotic Earth" in the Journal of the American Chemical Society with an ominous editorial. After an otherwise technical paper about the prehistoric origins of amino acids, the conclusion takes a turn for the extremely sinister. Emphasis is ours:
An implication from this work is that elsewhere in the universe there could be life forms based on D amino acids and L sugars, depending on the chirality of circular polarized light in that sector of the universe or whatever other process operated to favor the L α‐methyl amino acids in the meteorites that have landed on Earth. 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.
To make matters all the more hilarious, the press release for this paper has somehow spun this extraterrestrial snippet into the central focus:
Could "Advanced" Dinosaurs Rule Other Planets?
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.
Given the nature of online academic publishing, there is the possibility this sentence could be excised in the final draft. For the sake of future human-xenosaurian diplomacy, this may not be a terrible idea. Our Star Tyrannosaurus allies could have extremely sensitive feelings.
[Via The Awl]