Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor
Why are we assuming this new form of life originated on this planet in the first place?
If every known life form on the planet follows a set pattern, and we find one that deviates at a very basic chemical level, shouldn't the possibility at least be considered that these microbes are extraterrestrial in origin?
What they thought could be truly amazing about this discovery was that they thought it was evidence of a "shadow biosphere" that was also being called Life 2.0. This means the world had actually seen a separate, independent origin of life (which would be a pretty darn big deal). But indications are, the bacteria are genetically too similar to ordinary life to truly be descendents of a second genesis.
But it is an extreme form of life that goes way beyond our previous conceptions of where and what life could be. This broadens the conditions under which we can hypothesize life existing elsewhere. Discussing this with my son last night, I pointed to our black lab snoring on the floor and said "its about as far from that fuzzy lump of protoplasm as you can imagine".