"That this seems so should, at the least, cause us to
consider seriously the possibility that life could arise
elsewhere than on the planet with which we are intimately
familiar. We -- wherein I include salmon, salamanders,
and sardines with the sapiens among us -- can ill exude
"'From dust to dust' summarizes the life cycles of stars.
But the dust dispersed at death has far richer chemical
diversity than that consumed at birth. Consequently, these
cycles constitute necessary, albeit seemingly unlikely,
events in our cosmic genealogies.
"That we (again, we in its broadest sense) are direct descendants
from ancestral stellar giants establishes a tie between us and
those nightly beacons from which we had heretofore seemed wholly
"The iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones, even the gold
fillings in our teeth, are sprinklings of stardust manufactured
in, and explosively spewed from, physical predecessors that now
exist only as galactic memories.
"If ancestors could in imagination be chosen by their descendants,
what flight of fancy would top the reality of being children of
- George A. Seielstad, Chapter 5: "Chemical Evolution",
page 82, from Cosmic Ecology: The View from the Outside In,
University of California Press, Berkeley, 1983