From Fossils to Astrobiology reviews developments in paleontology and gebiology that relate to the rapidly-developing field of Astrobiology, the study of life in the Universe. Many traditional areas of scientific study, including astronomy, chemistry and planetary science, contribute to Astrobiology, but the study of the record of life on planet Earth is critical in guiding investigations in the rest of the cosmos.
In this varied book, expert scientists from 15 countries present peer-reviewed, stimulating reviews of paleontological and astrobiological studies.The overviews of established and emerging techniques for studying modern and ancient microorganisms on Earth and beyond, will be valuable guides to evaluating biosignatures which could be found in the extraterrestrial surface or subsurface within the Solar System and beyond. From Fossils to Astrobiology also provides discussion on the controversial reports of 'nanobacteria' in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. From Fossils to Astrobiology is unique among astrobiology monographs in focusing on fossil evidence from the geological record and will be valuable to students and researchers alike.
Foreward, Joseph Seckbach and Maud Walsh. Introduction: A Roadmap to Fata Morgana?, Wladyslaw Altermann. List of authors and their addresses.
PART 1: Fossils and Fossilization
Nanosims Opens a New Window for Deciphering Organic matter in Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Samples, Dorothy Z. Oehler, Francois Robert, Smail Mostefaoui, Anders Meibom, Madeleine Selo, David S. McKay, and Everett K. Gibson
Disentangling the Microbial Fossil Record in the Barberton Greenstone Belt: A Cautionary Tale, Maud M. Walsh and Frances Westall
Looking through Windows onto the Earliest History of Life on Earth and Mars, David Wacey, Nicola McLoughlin, and Martin D. Brasier
Models for Silicate Fossils of Organic Materials in the Astrobiological Context, Vera M. Kolb and Patrick J. Liesch
Microfossil Phosphatization and Its Astrobiological Implications, Shuhai Xiao and James D. Schiffbauer
Proterozoic Unicellular and Multicellular Fossils from India and Their Implications, Vinod Chandra Tewari
PART 2: Stromatolites, Microbial Mats, and Biofilms
Stromatolites, B.P. Burns, M.R. Walter, and B.A. Neilan
Biosedimentological Processes that Produce Hot Spring Sinter Biofabrics: Examples from the Uzon Caldera, Kamchatka, Russia, Jessica C. Goin and Sherry L. Cady
Cyanobacterial Mat Features Preserved in the Siliciclastic Sedimentary Record, Hubertus Porada and Patrick G. Eriksson
Deciphering Fossil Evidence for the Origin of Life and the Origin of Animals: Common Challenges in Different Worlds, Jonathan Antcliffe and Nicola McLoughlin
PART 3: Terrestrial Microbes as Analogs for Life Elsewhere in the UniverseHelga Stan-Lotter, Sergiu Fendrihan, Marion Dornmayr-Pfaffenhuemer, Friedrich Gerbl, Andrea Legat, Claudia Gruber, and Gerhard Weidler
Evidence of Ancient Microbial Life in a Large Impact Structure and Its Implications for Astrobiology - A Case Study, Tomas Hode, Shery L. Cady, Ilka von Dalwigk and Per Kristiansson
Phylogenomic Dating and the Relative Ancestry of Prokaryotic Metabolisms, Carrine E. Blank
Fossil Microorganisms at Methane Seeps: An Astrobiological Perspective, Roberto Barbieri and Barbara Cavalazzi
Endoliths in Terrestrial Arid Environments: Implications for Astrobiology, Nunzia Stivaletta and Roberto Barbieri
Magnetotactic Bacteria and Their Potential for Terraformation, Ioan I. Ardelean, Cristina Moisescu, and Dan Razvan Popoviciu
PART 4: Evolution and Astrobiology
Paleontological Tests: Human-Like Intelligence Is Not a Convergent Feature of Evolution, Charles H. Lineweaver
Cosmic Life Forms, Attila Grandpierre
PART 5: Astronomical and Cosmological Considerations in Astrobiology
Astronomical and Astrobiological Imprints on the Fossil Records: A Review, J. Chela-Flores, G. Jerse, M. Messerotti, and C. Tuniz
Do Impacts Really Cause Most Mass Extinctions?, Donald R. Prothero
Irradiation of Icy Cometary Analogs: Its Relevance in Reference to Chemical Evolution and the Origin of Life, Maria Colin-Garcia, A. Negron-Mendoza, S. Ramos-Bernal and E. Chacon
The Big Bang at Time Zero, Peter R. Bahn and Steven H. Pravdo
Molecular Imprints of Reaction Network: Living or Non-living, Koichiro Matsuno
PART 6: The Search for Evidence of Life on Mars
The ALH84001 Case for Life on Mars, Alfonso F. Davila, Alberto G. Fairen, Dirk Schulze-Makuch, and Christopher McKay
Preservation Windows for Paleobiological Traces in the Mars Geological Record, David C. Fernández-Remolar, Olga Prieto-Ballesteros, César Menor-Salván, Marta Ruíz-Bermejo, Felipe Gómez, David Gómez-Ortiz and Ricardo Amils
PART 7: OUTLOOK AND SUMMARY
From Fossils to Astrobiology : Final comments, Joseph Seckbach, Julian Chela-Flores, Aharon Oren, and Francois Raulin
"This book emphasizes the study of Precambrian paleontology and its implications for investigating extraterrestrial biosignatures. [...] Largely technical in nature, this fascinating volume [...] will be of great interest to astrobiologists, planetary astronomers, evolutionary biologists, and paleontologists. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections."
- D. A. Brass, Choice, Vol. 46 (9), May, 2009
"In this book, expert scientists from 15 countries present peer-reviewed, stimulating reviews of paleontological and astrobiological studies. The overviews of established and emerging techniques for studying modern and ancient microorganisms on Earth and beyond will be valuable guides to evaluating biosignatures that could be found in the extraterrestrial surface or subsurface within the solar system and beyond. [...] It is a unique volume among astrobiology monographs in focusing on fossil evidence from the geological record and will be valuable to students and researchers [...] ."
- Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin, 2009