Why shouldn't aliens look like us???
December 11, 2006 10:03am CST
There are good scientific reasons to believe that extraterrestrial life Would extraterrestrials look like us? Why not? In sci-fi movies, aliens are often basically humanoid in size and shape, like the Klingons in Star Trek, or various characters in the Star Wars films. Even the robots are built on anthropomorphic lines, because there's an actor inside that suit, whether it's furry, scaly or metallic. The advent of computer-generated imagery means this limitation might be left aside, but alien monsters still tend to be given broad similarities to our own form: bilateral symmetry, and something that looks like a head. Arms and legs may outnumber our own, but they tend to be in pairs and terminate in hands, claws or feet. For the purposes of enjoyment we suspend critical judgment, although if you thought about it you'd probably conclude that ET, if he exists, would be quite different from us, not at all like his depiction in the eponymous movie. But would he? Actually, an argument can be made that extraterrestrial technological (radio-communicating, space-faring) lifeforms might be similar to us. Statements regarding the possibility of extraterrestrial organisms are often qualified with the glib phrase "life as we know it". But life as we know it, here on Earth, can also tell us a lot. For 3bn years Earth-life was restricted to monocellular forms; in short, slime. Then, sometime around 600m years ago, the first polycellular life - the first animals - evolved. This step came after an extended era during which our planet was completely covered by ice, with intermittent thaws. Palaeo climatologists call this "Snowball Earth". Climatic shocks, coupled with a build up in the oceans and atmosphere of oxygen released by algae, may have made possible the emergence of the first marine creatures. Some appeared similar to jellyfish, others to sponges and segmented worms, while many were unlike anything seen today. These are termed the Ediacaran fauna, after the Ediacara Hills, just west of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, where peculiar fossils were found in the 1940s. Later it was realised that examples had been reported earlier on other continents. Geologists have just agreed to define the Ediacaran as a new geological period, the first such declaration since the 19th century, after 14 years of wrangling. The Ediacaran stretches from the end of the Snowball Earth era through to the start of the Cambrian period 543m years ago. The relevance of the Ediacaran to the search for extraterrestrial life is clear. All we can hope for on Mars is microbes, but elsewhere in the solar system conditions similar to Snowball Earth may exist. Beneath the icy crust of Jupiter's moon Europa, an ocean has been suggested, perhaps making complex life feasible there. Nasa plans a probe to Europa. The Ediacaran fauna give us the best concept of what to look for. When it comes to searching for ET, though, microbes or jellyfish are of limited interest to the passengers on the Clapham omnibus. They want little green men, or benign Klingons: technological beings able to beam messages to us from elsewhere in the galaxy, telling us we are not alone. Simply intelligent life is not enough: dogs and frogs can build neither radio dishes nor spaceships. The Cambrian itself is delineated by an explosion in life's diversity. Palaeontologists count at least 35 distinct body plans in fossils from that period, giving rise to evolutionary lines reaching down through the ages. Some have died out, while others have continued to the present. Evolutionists sometimes talk of the dead ends as being experiments in life that did not work. Well, what about the ones that did work? A finite number of solutions exist for any physical problem. The laws of hydrodynamics, for example, govern efficient movement through water, and as a result dolphins, sharks and ichthyosaurs assumed the same shape, despite mammals, fish and reptiles having diverged many millions of years ago. This is termed convergent evolution. Similarly, humans and octopuses have eyes with the same basic architecture, because there are only so many ways to focus and detect light. Life elsewhere might be based on a different set of 20 amino acids to that on Earth, but we don't know that, so we can only use our experience. The number of ways DNA can be mixed to produce different viable lifeforms is huge, but it is finite. What if the only solutions to the problem of producing an organism capable of interstellar communication were in the DNA combinations resulting in bilateral symmetry, four limbs, opposable thumbs and brains more proficient than is required for the health and reproduction of the species? We could extend that list, but you get the picture. Since the Copernican revolution in the 16th century, indicating that the Earth is not the centre of the universe, we have been conditioned to reject the anthropocentric viewpoint. In interpreting observations, scientists try to exclude human values. But we shouldn't be afraid of imagining the simplest solution: that ET might be just like us. forms might resemble human beings!!!
11 Dec 06
I believe there might be some extraterrestrial life but not sure they look similar to the earth livings.Hopefully this question can be better answerd in 1-2 years from now because the technology is growing at a rapid pace and will soon find an answer for extra terrestrial life
11 Dec 06
thats a very good question indeed... the aliens if they do exist should look like us but they still may be difereent......... in our earth also....the are so many forms of life which interact with each other.............thats what may be in the other world.....so many life forms......the building blocks may be the same.......the biomolecules.... but they may combin eto form differnet form of life forms.....thats what happened here.... humans never looked the same millions of years ago.....we were totally different....thats what may be the case in the other world too...so maximum chances are that the aliens wont look like us...they may or may look like as they seem to be in the movies...but still one thing is for certain.....if there is an alien i would like to see one
11 Dec 06
hey u just check out www.space.com there r many allien pics over there..this was indeed very interesting topic to discuss but i wonder y no one were responding!!!!if u get any further information plz post it here...thx 4 responding...take care
12 Dec 06
Aliens shouldn't look like us form many different reasons the one which comes me right now in mind and which is the most probably it that they come from another planet and don't have the same climate as we have on Terra. Another argument can be that they are more evolved beings than us and transcended into a different physical form.
12 Dec 06
the aliens need not look like us because the live on another planet which need not have same atmospheric conditions like earth. the atmospere,the geographical location etc have effect on ones shape,color etc.so the aliens belong to different atmosphere so they need not look like us.
12 Dec 06
hi,the living creatures on the earth started after so many millions of years after earth formation from big bang theory...AS WE ARE NOW [HUMANS..ANIMALS..INSECTS..EVERY LIVING THING passed from so many EVELUTIONS and reached to this SHAPES...sTRUGGLE FOR EXISTANCE and USE AND DISUSE THEORY..LIKE THAT SOMANY effected us in getting these SHAPES......SO we can't expect ALIENS will be similar to us..
12 Dec 06
Your posting is too long until i couldn't get clearly on what is your main question. So i just guess your question is on why ET life takes human forms in movie? It doesn't really appear that way. The ET life form could just be in air, liquid or plasma form. Besides, they could just be transparent (who knows), but in order to convince or make the audience to accept the characters easily, it is better make the ET life to looks more like human. In the universe, we are not alone. If we could exist in this solar system, why not in the others? Since the chemical composition & living condition (habitat) is so different in the outer space, so different creature exist in different form. (we are carbon base, fyi). Besides, they could be in different stage of technology or evolution level. ET life could be as simple as amoeba or as complicated like human. Those who could travel to Earth is definitely having technology more advance than human being.
12 Dec 06
thats a nice discussion topic.i do not thnk that aliens can look like us even in the slightest.for example astronauts who have been in outer space for a few,months actually thier bones change.this is due to the gravity change.so one can only ijmagine that life anywhgere else will not be like we expect it to be .as even the slightesst change in gravity can bring abtr changes can you imagine what will 2 suns instead of one,red suns instead of yellow,methane enviorment ionsetad of oxygen enviorment can bring abt? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_paradox http://www.amazon.com/How-Alien-Would-Aliens-Be/dp/0595194168
12 Dec 06
i think they are suppose to be different because they are from different space and so they dont have idea how we look and so they are keep on coming here in our planet to copy our life style and us itself. they want to copy the planet which is beautiful to live with.