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If the history of life on Earth could be rewound and replayed, many of the same innovations would reappear, although at different times and in slightly different forms.
This is the conclusion of Geerat Vermeij, a paleontologist at the University of California, Davis.
Vermeij's views imply that evolution is in some ways predictable and that life on other planets might not be so alien after all.
"Some traits are so advantageous under so many circumstances, or arise so relatively easily by virtue of self-organization, that you're likely to see the same things again and again," Vermeij told LiveScience.
Aliens may end up to be alot less "alien" than we might imagine.
"Alien life forms will look different but they will have many of the same basic traits and performance levels and abilities," Vermeij said.