Scientists believe dinosaurs, which have been extinct on Earth for over 65 million years, might actually be living on other planets, according to research in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
This study maintains it is not only possible dinosaurs are on other planets but that we could also eventually locate them.
To find these extraterrestrial dinos, scientists could explore substances that existed during the time of dinosaurs but are not found on Earth today.
Oxygen could lead to the discovery of dinosaurs
Scientists believe a crucial factor for a new dinosaur discovery is oxygen. Currently, Earth has about 21 percent oxygen, but during the dinosaur era, it was higher at 30 percent. This higher oxygen level theoretically supported dinosaurs, helping them thrive and dominate the planet for millions of years.
The paper proposes that if we find comparable oxygen levels on distant planets, it might create suitable conditions for dinosaur-like aliens to exist. Co-author of the study Lisa Kaltenegger stated, “Modern Earth’s light fingerprint has been our template for identifying potentially habitable planets, but there was a time when this fingerprint was even more pronounced—better at showing signs of life.”
She further said, “This gives us hope that it might be just a little bit easier to find signs of life—even large, complex life—elsewhere in the cosmos.”
Scientists are searching for a key hint in their quest for this discovery: signs of a Phanerozoic stage on a planet. Such a stage could provide the right conditions for creatures such as dinosaurs to evolve.
Phanerozoic is just the most recent 12 percent or so of Earth’s history
Rebecca Payne, the lead author of the study from Cornell University, explained that the Phanerozoic represents only the last 12 percent of Earth’s history, but it includes almost all the time when life was more intricate than just microbes and sponges.
If we’re seeking something more advanced than a single-celled organism on other planets, these distinct light fingerprints are what we should be looking for, Payne explained.
If scientists find these conditions on other planets, Kaltenegger believes it might uncover dinosaurs we’ve never seen on Earth. “Hopefully we’ll find some planets that happen to have more oxygen than Earth right now because that will make the search for life just a little bit easier,” said the co-author of the study, Lisa Kaltenegger.
“And, who knows, maybe there are other dinosaurs waiting to be found,” Kaltenegger predicted.