How do aliens look like? This has been a fascinating question and one which is perhaps as old as the question – ‘are we alone in this universe?’ Aliens exists or they don’t – either scenario is scary! Imagine if there are aliens and they are genuinely of the type that are shown in Hollywood movies, we should be scared thinking of how the contact between their world and ours will roll out. If there’s no other life form out there in this universe then that’s scary as well because…um… we are just alone!
But considering the diversity of the universe, we can very well assume that we are not alone. It is just a matter of time before we find another extraterrestrial life somewhere else in our visible universe (or may be beyond). Assuming that they do exists and await discovery, the question is, how do aliens look like? Let’s find out what scientists think.
How Do Aliens Look Like? Scientists Give Us Some Ideas
Let’s imagine that there’s life somewhere close to us. What would that life be like? Single-celled organisms? Perhaps! How about complex organisms? That’s also possible! How about whole societies? That too is possible. And how about aliens just like us (humans)? Um… yes, that possibility cannot be discarded either. It is not necessary that aliens will be similar to what Hollywood points out like beings with long heads and long fingers or creatures with pointy ears or just carnivore blobs or xenomorphs bursting out of chest.
But, for the time being let us forget about our assumptions and our visualizations based on Hollywood and divert our attention to what scientists think. They actually gave us some incredible clues to start with – something really basic and they published a study.
What they say is really paradigm shifting. They say that no matter what path or way an alien life takes to evolve, the principle of evolution will kick in. Evolution says ‘natural selection’. So, alien life will also go through the natural selection process unless of course they are meant to be intergalactic livestock. Thus, if natural selection is there, alien life should, at the very least, follow an hierarchy just in case as on Earth where our single-celled origins can be traced all the way down to the individual cells in our body. Hence, the scientists argue that in case of alien life as well, it should work out the same way. They should also work their way up from simple to complex hierarchy.
How Do Aliens Look Like? Perhaps Like The Octomite!
Well, don’t get us wrong! Octomite is not real. The Octomite is just an imaginary alien life form that the astrobiologists from Department of Zoology of the University of Oxford have come up with to illustrate their evolutionary theory for alien evolution somewhere else in this universe. What they say is that a complex organism like the Octomite will evolve from simpler or lower-level entities. This evolution will take place because those individual organism will simply align themselves with evolutionary interests and forget that they have conflict among each other. Instead, they will work together, go for division of labor and each part of the complex Octomite will have some specialized function. Each part, instead of having a conflict with the other, will have a mutual dependence on the other.
But the question that lingers is, why this kind of collective work? The answer lies in what we call on Earth as ‘major transitions’. These transitions refer to a handful of events where extreme conditions had set in, calling for such major transitions. For instance, on Earth, single-celled organisms evolved into multi-cellular organisms due to such major transitions.
Why This Evolutionary Theory on How Do Aliens Look Like?
According to Sam Levin – one of the astrobiologists involved in the study – says that the previous predictions on how do aliens look like are all based on the principle of extrapolating what we have on Earth on some other planet. This turns out to be extremely mechanistic because we know only about Earth and have some knowledge about what we call Physics, Chemistry, Geology etc. We then take those knowledge and information and make a guess. So, such kind of guess fits well or resonates well with silicon-based aliens and not with organisms with DNA. The Evolutionary Theory on how do aliens look like does one simple thing! It discards extrapolation and leaves the whole thing on nature and evolution. So, nothing from Earth is taken except evolution.
Throw in Symmetry While Answering How Do Aliens Look Like!
Guess what? There’s another reasonable assumption that the astrobiologists have made. They have thrown in some symmetry. They say that no matter what form these extraterrestrial beings or creatures take, they will show some symmetry. But why?
Smart question! Here’s why: Organic or inorganic – everything we know on this Earth and in this universe such as life forms to crystals to complete galaxies – everything maintains symmetry. So, it is quite reasonable to assume that somewhere on a distant planet (which also has a symmetry) when alien life pops to existence, a certain symmetry will be followed. Guess what? These scientists actually say that symmetry works as a baseline for evolutionary traits to come into existence.
Convergent Evolution is Another Answer To the Question: How Do Aliens Look Like?
Convergent Evolution is yet another outcome of evolutionary biology and it says that possibly aliens may have similar traits to that of us humans or just any other creature we know about on this Earth. For example, elephants or cockroaches or giraffes or leopards or goats or tigers or lions… just anything!
What really is convergent evolution? In evolutionary biology, it is a process in which two different organisms that are not at all closely related evolve the same traits independently simply because they need to adapt to environments that are similar or they live in similar ecological niches.
Example? Bats and whales! They are not closely or genetically related but both of them have developed the ability of navigating using echolocation. It is a wonderful solution that works for both these unrelated mammals just fine!
So, coming to aliens, they may have similar traits like any life form on Earth. For instance, they may have a physical makeup that mimics that of humans because our physical makeup is just awesome and it has enabled us to become apex predators in our environment. But again, these extraterrestrials may just be starkly different from humans and still be apex predators of their own environment.
So, convergent evolution only says that there is a possibility of aliens looking or having similar traits like humans or they may just be totally and absolutely different. Here is why they can be so different: The Tyrannosaurus Rex! We know that T. Rex was one massive dino that terrorized the dino world millions of years ago. It was an apex predator. Its massive head, tiny brain, two muscular legs capable of fast running, massive jaws with razor-sharp teeth – everything just worked fine at that time in that particular ecological niche. So, wasn’t it logical that such a makeup was just fit for being an apex predator?
Unfortunately however, that design was discontinued by evolutionary process after the end of the dinosaurs. New species came in and with other designs they managed to become formidable predators. Bottom line? Different species will have different solutions to the same problems or hurdles. This applies to aliens as well. They may just come up with some other solution that fits well in their own environment and hence, they may not necessarily look like us or may not necessarily share same traits like us.
Your Turn to Answer: How Do Aliens Look Like?
Okay, we have said enough! A lot actually. Honestly, we didn’t say anything. The scientists said everything. But, what do you think? According to you, how do aliens look like? Big green eyes, long fingers that they use to pee, robotic voice… Give us a visualization of your imagination using words. Let us take a peek into your imagination!