Some structural features of the microscopic meteorites that at one time were considered as fossils of primitive bacteria, in fact, represent a fossilized lumps of lifeless protein, according to two American scientists.
The typical size of microstructures, is a mythical prints of nanobacteria — 50-200 millionths of a millimeter across. They were found in some sedimentary rocks and even in found in Antarctica a few years ago, the Martian meteorite ALH84001 (proved its Martian origin), allowing enthusiasts to talk again about a life on Mars. The debate about whether these structures are to be fossilized remains of single-celled organisms whose size is ten times lower than the tiniest bacteria to the modern, raged for eight years.
Now Juergen Schieber (Jurgen Schieber) from Indiana University in Bloomington and Howard Arnott (Howard Arnott) from the University of Texas at Arlington, said that they were able to install: spherical clumps of protein 40-120 nanometers in diameter occurs when organic material decomposes in an environment similar to that formed in sedimentary rocks. This is consistent with the conclusions of scholars gathered in 1998 by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States in order to thoroughly examine the controversial nanobacteria. Then they came to the conclusion that organisms whose size is less than 200 nanometers in diameter, are not sustainable. This, however, did not put an end to all disputes. Some researchers have argued that they were able to grow nanobacteria in the laboratory.
Schieber and Arnott dipped pieces of bean, squid and beef in the mud, extracted from the bottom of the reservoir, settled colonies of different bacteria, naturally occurring, and then the samples were buried under the mud in the water tank. In the next two weeks, researchers regularly studied samples under a microscope. They found that the fabric covered spherical droplets of the organic substance. Probably, the balls are formed because the enzymes act on the protein fibers, causing them to shrink. These "nanospheres" can mineralized before it is full of decomposition. Fossilization process can begin only a few weeks after the beginning of the collapse.
The same is likely to happen with single-celled organisms in the early history of the Earth, and it all ended now observed fossil forms, according to Schieber and Arnott. "The greater the number of such structures in sedimentary rocks, if not all, were formed in this way" — they say. However, the origin of similar microstructures in the meteorite ALH84001 is debatable …