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Panspermia: a Case for Cordyceps

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Panspermia: a Case for Cordyceps

Tips: 0.25 INK Postby Cordyceps on Sun Jul 24, 2022 11:17 pm

The following is a hypothetical presentation supporting a case for cordyceps mushrooms and the theory of panspermia. Please enjoy the story but keep an open mind. This essay is provided as food for thought. I'm not saying that the following story is a historical fact, but merely offering a vivid picture of a possible scenario that inspires intellectuals to ask the question 'what if?', and re-think the way people observe the universe and their place within it. Feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions, pro-arguments and counter arguments regarding this thesis. But please keep it clean and civil, as I encourage my readers to be logical and keep an open mind.

My story begins shortly after the Big Bang.

10 billion years ago, a galaxy was formed. Only a few billion years after the collision of cosmic materials which created a vacuum that initiated the Big Bang, a solar system emerged composed of a large super massive blue gas giant. It wasn't the first star, nor the last. It was short-lived, but what made it special was that the cosmic temperature of the universe allowed all the components for life to emerge in that primeval solar system 10 billion years ago. Rare circumstances enabled single celled organisms to appear in liquid water within the habitable zone of a terrestrial planet at that time. It only lasted a few billion years, but that was enough time for life to develop into a few recognizable forms. The Milky Way galaxy had not even been developed yet, much less the Sun or Earth, but already life forms were beginning to take shape in a galaxy that eventually would go extinct and drift passed the horizon of the current observable universe. The first proto-life emerged in the form of lightning, which struck the primeval waters and caused molecules to combine rapidly. These molecules and atoms formed self-replicating RNA strands which eventually became the first machines. Some of those machines drifted in the ocean before they got stuck within tiny bubbles of oil, where they formed DNA and the very first self-replicating single celled organisms.

The first cell was born, a simple spherical biome that lacked all the complexities of later life forms. 10 billion years ago, these primeval life forms could reproduce asexually through cloning. They had no brain, no eyes, no nervous system and no reproductive organs. But they would evolve into some recognizable life forms such as algae and bacteria, mold and fungal spores which could withstand the vacuum of deep space. Tails, roots and tentacles would emerge from these tiny microscopic organisms which, at the time, were still confined to liquid water and had very soft bodies. Then around 8 billion years ago, their planet was destroyed by a heavy bombardment of asteroids initiated by a solar phenomenon which annihilated their primeval solar system. Chunks of debris from impact collisions with their primeval planet were hurled into outer space and most if not all of the life forms on their planet were destroyed. But some of those asteroids contained liquid water which froze into the rocks, plunging these microscopic organisms into a state of cryobiogenesis where they froze into the ice and laid dormant for millions of years, waiting patiently for a time when the ice would be melted and they would spring to life again.

Not all of them would survive the cosmic journey through outer space. Most of them would go extinct and only the most resilient single celled organisms would survive in cryostasis for such a long period of time. Only the viruses, less complex bacterium and fungal spores would survive. Some asteroids passed close to nearby stars, allowing the ice to melt for a very short time, but long enough for some of these primeval life forms to evolve. These first complexities took shape, not on orbital planets, but in the core of asteroids as they drifted aimlessly through outer space. Countless eons passed without much change as new stars and galaxies were born. Then around 5 billion years ago, some of those asteroids entered a proto-galaxy that would become known as the Milky Way, and around 4.5 billion years ago, one of these ice containing asteroids would crash into Mars, a rocky planet with liquid oceans that were suitable for life to emerge. Martian life was no longer science fiction, but had become a real living thing which spread across the iron-rich metallic planet.

At the time, Mars was not red with rust, but was bright and reflective in the solar system, and deep within its liquid rivers, microscopic organisms would thrive for many centuries, taking on new shapes and sizes, becoming more complex as time passed. Although they were still very simple by scientific standards, life on Mars had around 1 billion years to evolve before the Martian landscape became uninhabitable. Prokaryotes and maybe even eukaryotes had emerged, along with photosynthetic cells and microscopic organisms which would become more recognizable as time progressed. But complex life did not fare very well during the Noachian extinction of Mars, and yet again, only the most resilient organisms would survive. This again included the viruses, bacteria and fungal spores, which by now had over 5 billion years to evolve and adapt to their environment. Another orbital bombardment occured, something which these simple life forms had already experienced before. For humans, it would have been similar to the biblical description of hell. There would have been volcanic activity, earthquakes, meteor showers and lava rivers. Life on Mars became unsuitable, and many species went extinct. But history would repeat itself as the asteroids hit Mars, and chunks of the Martian planet were hurled into outer space, containing ice and the remnants of microbial life contained within them.

3 billion years ago, some of those chunks of Martian space debris collided with another terrestrial planet known as Venus, where life took a new and revolutionary turn. These new life forms had more time to evolve, roughly 2.3 billion years to be exact. Earth was already being formed at this time, and becoming more suitable for life at a period when Venus was already inhabited by our revolutionary distant ancestors. By that time, more complex life forms had evolved to include cyanobacteria or bluegreen algae, which have photosynthetic cells that absorb sunlight. Complex fungi emerged along with spider-like viruses and root systems, and the most basic life forms that would spark the evolution of barnacles, sponges, worms and plant life. It's at this time that the very first life forms with a nervous system were developed, along with parasites and organisms containing a flagellum, tentacles or tails. The very first proto-plants and root systems took shape, along with the very first spindle-like legs and sensory organs. Yet none of this was visible to the human eye, and it would still require many centuries before these subtle micro evolutions would become observable to modern humans. Then around 700 million years ago, Venus would also become uninhabitable, and once again those primeval life forms would hitch a ride through the cosmos.

But luck would strike as another heavy orbital bombardment occured in the solar system, with chunks of debris sending our primordial ancestors hurling throughout the galaxy. In a process known as litho panspermia, microbial life appeared in Earth's oceans around 3 billion years ago. But it also appeared elsewhere throughout the cosmos. Most life forms would die off and go extinct, and once again, only the most primitive and resilient organisms would survive the next few billion years. At the time, however, Proxima Centauri was much closer to the Earth than it is today, One of the life containing asteroids would crash into a planet within that nearest solar system around 700 million years ago, and there it would continue to evolve and develope over the next 650 million years. Therefore it was not on Earth, but rather on Proxima Centauri where the very first intelligent life forms would evolve. But these life forms were very different from human beings, and much more similar to their archaic ancestors.

Life on Proxima Centauri developed independently from Earth, but it followed the same fundamental laws and principles of life throughout the universe. The first complex life forms developed a nervous system to feel, brains to think, eyes to see, and a symmetrical body shape with legs, roots, tentacles or sensory organs like antennas which they used to navigate, sex organs for reproduction, a rudimentary skeleton and a heart to pump blood throughout the body. The earliest life on Proxima Centauri was similar to parasitic viruses and bacteria, algae, fungi, sponges, segmented 3-inch worms and barnacles, but eventually it would evolve into more complex organisms such as plant life and arthropoda such as sea insects or crustaceans, finless fish and other organisms. By around 200 million years ago, Earth had Pangaea along with dinosaurs and marine reptiles. But at a closer 2.5 light years away, Proxima Centauri was teaming with a very different ecological array of complex life forms.

Rather than dinosaurs, pterosaurs and marine reptiles, Proxima Centauri was dominated by insects, arachnids, worms, fungi, cuttlefish, octopi, sponges, barnacles, crabs and other crustaceans. By around 50 million years ago, Earth's dinosaurs were all but extinct due to meteor showers which plunged the planet into an ice age. Around the same time yet completely opposite of Earth's fate, Proxima Centauri was heating up due to a rather large solar flare from its fledgling red dwarf star. In fact, it was a few meteors from Proxima Centauri which altered the balance of the solar system that caused Earth's dinosaur extinction event. But only the most basic life forms from Proxima such as tardigrades, mold and fungal spores would survive on Earth's surface at that time, hitching rides on the asteroid belt phenomenon. It was the first time extraterrestrial life from another solar system had settled on Earth, but this was more by chance than on purpose. But the differences between them were significant enough to trigger the war of the microscopic organisms. As such, many parasitic animals such as wasps, cordyceps mushrooms, worms, fleas, ticks, spiders, barnacles and spider-like viruses evolved on a different path from most of Earth's other life forms. Coincidentally, the solar flare in Proxima Centauri not only spewed debris throughout the galaxy, but it caused a mass extinction event on its terrestrial planet as well, and 99% of life on Proxima Centauri went extinct as a result of the radioactive wave that heated the planet like a giant microwave.

The same general species that survived on Proxima Centauri also survived on the asteroids that hit Earth's surface 65 million years ago, including the parasitic life forms which inhabited Antarctica several millennia ago. But only one particular species developed earlier sentient behavior before all others, a particular species of cordyceps mushroom which had evolved the means to sporadically re-terraform the Earth roughly 50 million years ago, at a time when Earth was already undergoing changes during an ice age. These mushrooms had bioluminescent qualities which adapted to the stars and glowed a sparkling crystallized greenish blue when exposed to the radiation of a blue gas giant star, or bright red when exposed to a red dwarf star, similar to a color changing chameleon but involving bioluminescence which altered the fungi's pigmentation according to the solar light source, having not only evolved photosynthesis but also the ability to control it. In spite of having no eyes, no braincase or skeleton, the space faring fungus developed a root-like nervous system which encompassed the Earth's surface, enabling it to evolve self-awareness and global consciousness without being restricted to a skeleton, by creating a symbiotic or even parasitic relationship with Earth's plant life, insects and other life forms by taking over their nervous systems and re-coding their internal genetic programming like a computer virus. Furthermore, the mushrooms had already developed spores which could dehydrate themselves for extended periods of time to prolong the aging process by cyclomorphosis, enabling them to withstand subzero temperatures and the radioactive vacuum of outer space. This evolution makes them nearly invincible, for while the mushroom stalks themselves are sensitive and susceptible to damage, the spores they release are virtually indestructible, their shell-like cacoons protecting them from even the most extreme temperatures and pressures from the solar system.

What the shrooms lacked in eyes, brain cases, skeletons, noses, mouths, ears, opposable thumbs and feet, they made up for with sheer sensitivity and consciousness, having the ability to completely hijack other life forms that would do the mushroom's bidding. By infecting animals with legs, the mushroom could effectively walk. By infecting animals with eyes, the mushroom could effectively see. After a good 10 billion years of trial, chance and error, the alien fungus had become the dominant species on planet Earth, being far more advanced than any other life form that had inhabited the Earth before their arrival to Antarctica's green landscape 50 million years ago on the continent of Gondwana, before rapidly spreading across the whole planet, reaching Africa around 10 million years ago. Because they rarely leave behind any sort of fossil record, and lack all of the normal qualities attributed by modern humans to intelligent species, the extraterrestrial fungi has gone mostly unnoticed for thousands of years. But they continue to be the dominant species throughout the galaxy, spreading their spores from one solar system to another by way of litho panspermia, attaching themselves to every plant and animal they come across, and seeding the universe through means of their great symbiotic global consciousness.

These cordyceps mushrooms even caused a spark in primate evolution, giving rise to the very first self-aware apes and primitive humans around 7 million years ago, allowing them to think ahead and memorize past experiences that would enable humans to thrive and grow more advanced with time. In other words, all plants and animals including humans on the Earth today were molded and guided by an extraterrestrial fungi from Proxima Centauri that landed on Earth billions of years after it first evolved in a previous galaxy, then on Mars, and then on Venus, and even within another nearby solar system before finally taking root on Pangaea, Gondwana, Laurasia and the rest of Earth's surface. They are older than the Earth itself, and even older than Earth's sun or solar system, so perfectly designed as to be almost unchanged for billions of years despite its change in habitat. The fungus is an often overlooked, highly underrated living organism which doesn't merit the fear or respect it deserves. While the saltwater crocodile is treated with awe, caution and an almost innate fear of reptiles for its evolutionary remarkability, the much more elusive space fungus is often not even regarded as a sentient being at all, but is instead looked upon as just another pizza topping, when in fact it is not the predator who quickly consumes the mushroom, but rather, the mushroom which slowly consumes the predator.

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