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Mario Crocco is an Argentine neurobiologist, since 1982 director of the Neurobiological Investigations Center of the Argentine health ministry and since 1988 director of the Electroneurobiological Investigations Laboratory at Hospital Borda in Buenos Aires.
Crocca is internationally known for having proposed, in 2006, a new Nomen nudum taxonomic system that would include the hypothetical bacterium thought to have been detected on Mars by the Viking lander in 1976. Though these findings were later deemed inconclusive, some scientists interpret the results as evidence of metabolism, and therefore of life; the major proponents of this position are Gilbert Levin, Rafael Navarro-González, and Ronald Paepe.
Crocco proposed the creation of new Linnaean categories in order to incorporate hypothetical Martian microorganisms:
- Carbon-based life: Solaria
- Biosphere: Marciana - All living or extinct organisms whose lineages developed on Mars. A parallel taxon, including all earth-based lineages, is Terrestria.
- Kingdom: Jakobia - All members of Marciana whose anatomy and physiology are adapted to the ultraviolet radiation and other conditions characteristic of the Martian topsoil and other Martian biomes. (The name of the kingdom is an homage to the Bavarian-Argentine neurobiologist Christfried Jakob.)
- Genus and species: Gillevinia straata (in honor of Gilbert Levin and Patricia Straat, who conducted the original Viking experiments)
Neurobiology and psychophysics
Contributions to those fields are summarized in a Festschrift from 2008 (2nd ed., 2014), available from Internet:
Contreras, Norberto C. (2014). Algunos aportes de Mario Crocco a la neurobiología y psicofísica. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Rueda. ISBN 978-950-564-097-3. (Spanish)
- Klein, Harold; Gilbert Levin (1976-10-01). The Viking Biological Investigation: Preliminary Results 194 (4260). Science. pp. 99–105. Bibcode:1976Sci...194...99K. doi:10.1126/science.194.4260.99. PMID 17793090. Retrieved 2008-08-15.
- Conference presented by Gilbert Levin and published by Electroneurobiología vol. 15 (2), pp. 39-47, 2007.
- Paepe, Ronald (2007). The Red Soil on Mars as a proof for water and vegetation (PDP) 9 (01794). Geophysical Research Abstracts. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
- Crocco, Mario (2007-04-14). Los taxones mayores de la vida orgánica y la nomenclatura de la vida en Marte: 15 ((2)). Electroneurobiología. pp. 1–34. Retrieved 2008-08-14.