Using Darwin's evolutionary theory, scientists surmise that aliens may look more similar to humans than previously believed. This if the first time scientists used the evolutionary theory to understand and perhaps predict how aliens might look like.
What Do Aliens Look Like?
In movies and television shows, aliens are often shown as creatures with massive eyes, large heads, and other features that are distinctly different from humans. A new study published in the International Journal of Astrobiology suggests that more than looking like predators or Klingons, perhaps they could look more similar to us than we think.
In our galaxy alone, there are about 100 billion planets, 20 percent of which lie in the habitable zone. Still, despite large efforts and investments in astrobiology research, humans have yet to find galactic neighbors. As such, researchers opted to use the very evolutionary theory that we use to understand the creatures in our own planet to make predictions about aliens.
Evolutionary Theory For Aliens
In the past, predictions about aliens were done largely with respect to Earth itself, including its geology, chemistry, and physics. The current study focuses on a possible evolutionary development of aliens through natural selection that is independent of Earth's composition. They did this by using Darwin's evolutionary theory to try to understand alien composition and evolution.
On Earth, transitions and species evolution require major shifts and changes. When these extreme changes occur, simpler organisms can evolve into higher-level organisms. If we are to follow this theory for aliens, then perhaps through natural selection, they, too, have a hierarchy of species that lead to certain creatures evolving into higher-level organisms.
Under the evolutionary theory, it follows that the complex aliens have likely undergone major transitions to become the complex creatures that they are. Further, their composition then likely comprise of a nested hierarchy of entities that work together to keep the organism alive and functioning.
Though researchers state that it will still be difficult to determine whether the aliens may walk on two legs or have eyes that are similar to ours, they believe that using the evolutionary theory provides unique insight in humans' quest to understand what alien life forms may be like.
"By predicting that aliens undergone major transitions - which is how complexity has arisen in species on earth, we can say that there is a level of predictability to evolution that would cause them to look like us," said Sam Levin of Oxford's Department of Zoology, coauthor of the study.