Hollywood films and science fiction literature fuel the belief that aliens are monster-like beings, who are very different to humans. But new research suggests that we could have more in common with our extra-terrestrial neighbors than initially thought.
Scientists at the University of Oxford for the first time have revealed a theory that can be used to support alien predictions and better understands their behavior. They demonstrate that aliens are conceivably formed by similar procedures and systems that molded humans, for example, a natural selection.
Sam Levin, a researcher in Oxford’s Department of Zoology, said, “A fundamental task for astrobiologists is thinking about what extra-terrestrial life might be like. But making predictions about aliens is hard. We only have one example of life – life on Earth — to extrapolate from. Past approaches in the field of astrobiology have been largely mechanistic, taking what we see on Earth, and what we know about chemistry, geology, and physics to make predictions about Extraterrestrial Life.”
“In our paper, we offer an alternative approach, which is to use evolutionary theory to make predictions that are independent of Earth’s details. This is a useful approach because theoretical predictions will apply to aliens that are silicon-based, do not have DNA, and breathe nitrogen, for example.”
Considering the aliens have undergone a natural selection process, scientists addressed extra-terrestrial evolution, and how complexity will arise in space.
Major transitions occurred due to increased species complexity on the Earth. The transitions take place when a group of separate organisms evolves into a higher-level organism.
Both hypothesis and observational information propose that outrageous conditions are required for significant advances to happen. The study also made a prediction about the biological make-up of complex aliens and offers a degree of insight as to what they might look like.
Sam Levin added, “We still can’t say whether aliens will walk on two legs or have big green eyes. But we believe evolutionary theory offers a unique additional tool for trying to understand what aliens will be like, and we have shown some examples of the kinds of strong predictions we can make with it.”
“By predicting that aliens underwent 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.”
“Like humans, we predict that they are made-up of a hierarchy of entities, which all cooperate to produce an alien. At each level of the organism, there will be mechanisms in place to eliminate conflict, maintain cooperation, and keep the organism functioning. We can even offer some examples of what these mechanisms will be.”
“There are potentially hundreds of thousands of habitable planets in our galaxy alone. We can’t say whether or not we’re alone on Earth, but we have taken a small step forward in answering, if we’re not alone, what our neighbors are like.”