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Why shouldn't ET look like us?

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posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 12:50 AM
When scientists discuss what ET would look like, we often hear them mention that he would likely look nothing like us because he developed in a totally different environment.

Of course, this is based on the fact that we have no idea how life would develop on another planet.

I don't want to go into the details of how life would emerge and what random events would make animals look the way they do, etc. We don't even know how life emerged on this planet and why it took the form we now know.

Let's just assume that there is a planet with a fully-developed plant and animal life. As far as we know, it's taken 4 billion years for intelligent life (I don't mean whales and dolphins, I mean life like ours; a species that develops tools and technology and modifies its environment) to emerge on this planet, so let's assume the development of intelligent life takes time.

What do we need for a species to develop intelligence?

If the species is a prey, it will be too busy trying to stay alive and won't have the leisure necessary to develop intelligence. On the other hand, if the species is a strong predator with no natural enemies, it won't have any use for high intelligence (lions, tigers, elephants, etc).

Intelligence serves to help a species survive and prosper. An intelligent species will have to be an ill-equipped predator. Take our ancestors: they preyed on other animals, yet they had no physical attributes to catch and kill these animals, hence the development of weapons.

The species that develops intelligence will use it first and foremost to both kill other animals and survive occasional attacks from other predators. Some apes and gorillas use weapons but haven't developed intelligence. So what's missing? Most likely, war. Like it or not, we are a warrior species.

As for physical appearance, an evolved intelligent ET will most likely have something like a solid head to protect the brain. Connected to this head it will most likely have its sense organs. We can see in nature that species that develop inefficient characteristics don't survive. Any arrangement for the sense organs which would place them elsewhere than very close to the brain would be extremely inefficient for survival.

Now ET would also need to have some sort of appendages to make tools. Why do we have five fingers instead of six? Because a sixth simply uses too much brain resources for no practical value. Why do we have 2 legs instead of 3? With 3 legs, our brains would be utilized almost exclusively for walking.

The point is that we developed physically the way we are because it's practical. We developed intelligence for survival of the species.

It would be silly to assume anything different on another planet. In all likelihood, if we met ET, he would look very much like us (1 head, 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 arms, 5 fingers, 2 legs). His skin might be blue and his eyes might see in a completely different spectrum of colour, but we'd know him for what he is. And I don't think we should assume he's not from a warrior species.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 01:13 AM
All I've heard from the various ex-insiders is that some are humanoid, some aren't. You're going into a interesting area but extremely difficult for a lot of us. For example, I personally believe an intelligent third party of some kind had a hand in our species' creation and early development. Because of that, I have no idea how intelligent life on other planets would have started.

You have to either adapted techniques or physical attributes to survive, as all animals we see have some ability to adapt. We observe animals adopting strategies, developing weapons, or turning elements in their environment into weapons.

An aspect of nature I have always enjoyed is the ability of animals to communicate with each other and, brace yourself, reason. One example I found through my own observations is when a squirrel spent a few minutes on our property tinkering with a squirrel-proof feeder. He examined the mechanisms and setup for a bit, and then left and went up the tree. He got his friend who was higher up in the tree, who immediately followed him back down and held the feeder in place, so it wouldn't move, while the first squirrel disassembled one of the mechanisms and got the bird seed out.

Honestly, the more you deeply observe and analyze, simply pay attention to the world around you, it will sometimes bring tears to your eyes when you realize all the details and depth you can spend nearly a whole lifetime up to that point missing. It all adds to the understanding of the topic you've brought up, I've found.

You know, the greys frequently take credit for the development of our species. The implications of that, as a truth or as a lie, blow my mind.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 01:16 AM
If you think about it, evolution is very random. In fact aliens might not even be carbon based. The likeliness of aliens being anything resembling humanoid is slim to none. I on earth evolved on earth. We might not even recognize other life as life.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 01:42 AM
As one poster said, the range on Earth for intelligent creatures includes the dolphin, or whale and that's on the same planet.

One might have to back off and just say that there's a good chance that an alien species will:

1. use some kind of visual sensing system
2. have many of the sensors at one end
3. be bilaterally symmetrical
4. have some sort of system to allow mobility
5. some sort of apparatus to manupulate tools. On Earth octopuses use tentacles.

Systems that might be very different
1. whereas we intake food in one end and expel it out the other, some species may use the skin to absorb food and also expel waste.
2. language, vocalizations may be performed at extreme frequencies (note the low freq. communication of cetaceans vs higher freq. of humans)
3. mating, number of genders and similar processes could be widely varying. Note the variation on Earth, from some species that have giant females and very tiny males that live inside their mouth, almost as a parasite.
4. an 'alien' suited to long term space travel could be very different. After all they would be designed to live in low gravity, confined spaces, and with higher radiation. It could look like a giant brain with no arms or legs, tiny fingers, and no real 'eye'.

I guess my point is that taking Earth creatures as an example, we have incredible variation and the two main environments are 'water' and 'land' (and possibly 'air'). So it would seem to defy the imagination as to what an 'alien' with completely different requirements might look like.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 01:46 AM
Well, if their planet's history & climate was anything similar to ours, I don't see why not. However, if it was never interrupted or disturbed by cataclysms like supervolcanoes and/or asteroid impacts, and there's a chance for such a situation, I think they may not be mammalian like us.

There may even be more than one truly sentient species on such a safe/stable homeworld.

Physics is the same all over the universe. Physics affect biology. Planets with life will look very much like earth.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 01:51 AM

Originally posted by Badge01
As one poster said, the range on Earth for intelligent creatures includes the dolphin, or whale and that's on the same planet.

And lets grab a interesting link real quick here.

Dr.Wolf states that the Reticulan 4s and/or Zeta Reticulans are directly related to the dolphin genetic pool.


Also, I believe there could be an almost identical human replica somewhere else in the universe.

Math repeats itself throughout the universe and it can't change.

So math applies too everything, right?

Well then it should apply too the rates of biological entities and what size and what functions they perform.

This means that the chance for life being vastly different anywhere else in the universe is SLIM too NONE.

The fact is, intellegent bipedal creatures are humanoid, no matter if they have grey green or purple skin.

And I'm sure they don't have too be bipedal either, what's too say an intellegent evil parasitic insect race hasn't evolved some billions of trillions of *z*illions of lightyears away? Nothing.

There could in fact be 6 foot praying mantis' that are on another planet, but guessssss what!

We won't know for a little longer, will we..... =)

We have too wait for an official world disclosure on aliens.

[edit on 4-3-2008 by Prophet-Ezekiel]

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 01:56 AM

What do we need for a species to develop intelligence?

Well......dolphins are almost as smart as us..... They’re predators and so are lions tigers and bears oh my...and so if dolphins can be as smart as they are - so potentially can other predators.

[edit on 4-3-2008 by andre18]

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 02:07 AM
reply to post by andre18

pesky DOLPHINS!!!


Too bad they don't have bipedal legs and apposable thumbs, or else they'd be on the way too building a sea-land civilization and taking rule of the world!

I've started a new CONSPIRACY!


Just kidding. =)

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 03:54 AM
Good Post Mate.

When we look throughout our own galaxy (I won't enter into other galaxies here as they are too distant), it's pretty much made up of the same stuff - just different ratios. We have suns, planets, nebula, gravitational forces, radiation, ice - etc etc, etc. As far as we know, it's all governed by the same periodic table. The same 'stuff' essentially. Everything repeats itself.

When we look at genetics, animals that have eyes positioned more to the sides of their heads are generally herbivore. They need a wider scope of vision to graze and keep an eye on the periphery for carnivores (or predators).

Animals that have eye's positioned to the front are generally predators. They aren't too worried about being preyed upon themselves. They're only concern is keeping their 'eyes on the prize'. They are motivated by a singular goal.

Omnivores have proliferated on planet Earth because they are adaptable thus allowing them to grow in quantities where-by they don't need to be especially strong as an individual. Their power resides in their numbers. Omnivores also tend to have eyes in positioned to the front of the head.
They also have incisors, canines and molars to tackle their varied diets, (which incidentally, leads to their success as a species over long periods and through tough times). Climate Change anyone?

OK - so far, the odds suggest they could be omnivore with eye's placed closer to the front of the face or marginally to the side. They will also likely have 3 types of teeth in order for them to spread and utilize many food sources within the varied environments on their planets.

What else do we need?

Nothing of value besides manure for fertilization is produced by our 4 legged friends. They cannot manipulate objects to the degree that bipedal creatures can. I can't see them manipulating optical fibers or creating the complex machinery needed to produce technologies such as nanotech etc. Hooves and pincers must therefore be out of the question too (for obvious reasons).
Also, as one member already stated, most of their neurons are dedicated to 4+ legged locomotion.

What we need are a balance of arms and legs. Arms to fight, defend, to build and create, and digits (fingers and opposable thumbs at least) to manipulate small, technical objects with the required finesse... or to build machines that do that for them. Legs for acceptable locomotion.

I wont go on any longer as I don't want this to turn into a novel so lets look at what we have so far.

I see the basic model being:

A bipedal omnivore, with eyes to the front of the head (or close to) and 3 types of teeth, arms and legs with opposable thumbs for locomotion and manipulation/creation. Probably soft skinned as they had the numbers for safety instead of something like an exoskeleton.

That's my 2 cents worth. The only variance I can foresee is size and skin color as on Earth due to different terrains, climates and diet.

This is theoretical to a degree but it also carries much water. And is provable beyond conjecture with what we know of science and successful lifeforms.

InfraRedman Out! Peace!

[edit on 4/3/08 by InfaRedMan]

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 09:20 AM
As I mentioned, things like having the sense organs clustered at one end seems to be favored, and bilateral symmetry seems likely if the method of development involves DNA and embryo formation.

However, look at the vast diversity of 'life' on just one planet.

This tells me that 'biology' can find a wide array of 'solutions' to the development of life.

In addition, though I agree, physics does have a guiding hand, the conditions of gravity, pressure and temperature will vary on different planets, causing appropriate changes in outcome.

However, this 'bio-diversity' may actually work in favor of diminishing exo-centrisim and improving tolerance for other types of life forms, given that it's likely most planets will have that diversity experience at home.

Unfortunately, the dominant biological imperatives may also operate to overwhelm any tolerance. Drives for food, turf and domination and reproducing the species are strong.

[edit on 4-3-2008 by Badge01]

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 09:23 AM
The ancients say we were made in ETs image. Thats why we probably look exactly like SOME of the ET-races out there.

Unfortunately most people kneel down and worship our same-as-us brothers rather than meeting them eye to eye.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 09:43 AM
Which us are you talking about--horses, pigs, monkeys, seals, whales, oysters, jellyfish, sea cucumbers, birds, or humans?

Creatures on our own planet haven't evolved to all look the same, why should ET have evolved to look look like anything we have ever seen, much less primates?

[edit on 2008/3/4 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 10:07 AM
reply to post by GradyPhilpott

I agree. We have to conclude that Biology, if that's the acting force, finds many solutions to the same problem here on Earth.

One way to put it might be that certain traits -seem- to be favored, and the dominant forces applied to carbon-based life are

1. physics
2. biology
3. conditions (gravity, pressure, temperature; land/sea/air)
4. ecology
5. other minor forces

From what we know, bilaterally symmetrical, medium sized, tool users would seem to be a requirement, though hive-based life could also be viable, which means all bets are off, eh?

The needs that must be addressed are probably similar
1. locomotion, propulsion;
2. reproduction;
3. food gathering;
4. assimilation and excretion;
5. social interaction, both -intra and -extra species;
6. individuation (however, one could even imagine a Gaia-based life form that was one entity, planetwide, or a hive mind).

Older definitions of 'life' include terms such as 'homeostasis, organization, growth, adaptation, response to stimuli, and reproduction. But this excludes asexual organisms, viruses and prions, for example (taken from Wiki, see below)

Wiki sums up what 'Life' entails quite nicely:

Proposed definitions of life include:
1. Living things are systems that tend to respond to changes in their environment, and inside themselves, in such a way as to promote their own continuation.[citation needed]
2. Life is a characteristic of self-organizing, self-recycling systems consisting of populations of replicators that are capable of mutation, around most of which homeostatic, metabolizing organisms evolve.

However it might be easy to miss a live organism if their life is on a timescale unfamiliar to us, such as a slow moving, geological time based organism.

All this should lead us to conclude that though a few forms might seem to be favored, there are a -very- wide array of possible solutions.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 05:24 PM
I like where this started but I feel the need to throw a VERY wet blanket on the argument of brain power.
Consider our insect friends.
The hated cockroach has 6 legs and still gets by. (I've even seen some down here in Florida that fly)
The common fly has six legs, compound eyes AND flies incredibly well.
A bee has all of the above and lives in a COMMUNITY!
A spider ... well I think you can smell me.
What I'm getting at is these creatures do these things with brains thast are only a few molecules in size. So what's to stop a fully evolved life-form weighing from 50 to 250 lbs. from being able to do more, supposing, that is assuming that their brains are commensurate in size to the rest of their being?
Personally, I'm all up for whatever fantastic forms one may imagine.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 05:32 PM
I presume when you say ET, you're referring to Emma Thompson,
the actress 'dumped' by Kenneth Branagh.

She starred in an advert for that saucy tabloid The Sun before
moving onto serious TV.
I suppose catching a 'gander' at Branagh's Hamlet is enough to
make anyone think twice.
I also agree that she does look similar to us and if something
like... I dunno, aliens landing here, it maybe comforting that she
can perform classical works.
When I say classical, I of course mean movies like 'Kes' and
anything with Roy Scheider 'the joyrider' in.

It makes you think nuh?

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 05:49 PM
E.T. Extratarestrails, aliens, spacemen.

Why shouldn't they look like us?

What is "to look like us"? Do we all look alike? The older I get the more I realize we are not the same. I'm not talking diffrences in race. I'm talking diffrences between people in the same race, diffrences between people witht he same sets of parrents even.

Look like what?

Well if the question can be looked at as "basicly humanity", the answer is simple. Why do you think they should/would look like us? Such beliefs are nationalistic, tribal, UNREAL.

Why don't all animals look alike? Why don't all plants look alike? Why doesn't every cookie mommy makes for family holidays look alike?

ET grows up in another way then us. Maybe they are not born like us. Maybe they are hachtched from a pod no so unlike us but unlike us enough not to look like us.

Unless you're talking about classes of ETs looking enough like us, I believe the answer is overwealmingly clear. The universes are diverse, and it is only the mind of the creature that wishes to be around like creatures in the most basic animalistic natured way.

This is a diriavitive of our hunter/gather formation. We learned over time that it was "safe" to eat the berries or the beast that we ate yesterday. Something new and unknown might kill us.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 09:43 PM
reply to post by IronMan

Though your completely 'off-topic', your sense of humor was not lost on me.

I'm still laughing!!!

Thanks for some comic relief during the intermission. "You the Man".. (clad in iron of course)

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 09:58 PM
I think everyones theories on why or why not they should look like us are equally vallid for the simple fact that non of us really know for sure. It's all pure conjecture.

I do have one question though that anyone here can feel free to answer.

By running on the assumption that every organism (as far as we can understand) requires some form of atmosphere to proliferate, how do they then:

A) Make the jump into the vacuum of space (dimensional or otherwise) without fabricated technologies (bees, spiders, centipedes etc)
B) Traverse the great distances required to investigate other lifeforms on other planets. (an insect isn't going to have a "warp drive" attached to it's butt).
C) Have a contingency plan to cater for new unknown atmospheres, lifeforms and the perils that lay between there and here.

I Look forward to hearing some informative perspectives?

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 11:47 PM
I'm really glad I started this topic; Most of the replies are interesting and well-thought. Some make me ponder (but that would be the subject of a different thread) why do close-minded people bother coming to this site?

It was late when I wrote the first post, so to clarify, when I mean that I think ET would look like us, I mean in a general sense: we would know what he/she/it is very rapidly. An ape may look like a human in a general sense, but it doesn't take long to see they haven't evolved intelligence in quite the same way we have. And, to quote Infraredman, I don't think ET will have a warp engine on his butt

Hilarious! But I think it needed mentionning. Assuming ET is not carbon-based and developed on a planet substantially different from ours, that still does not invalidate that his evolution should have similar points to ours and those ETs could very well end up in a similar configuration to ours anyway.

Obviously, this doesn't mean that all ETs would look similar to us, but considering there are 200 billion stars in the galaxy (in case you missed it, last week astronomers discovered the Milky Way is twice the size previously thought). Out of these, I think it would be conservative to say there are probably several million planets that have developed technological species.

So I'm sure some of them, if not most of them, must be easily recognizable to us.

Just a note, and no offense intended to anyone, I'd appreciate if we could forget about ideas that ETs created us in a laboratory for this topic of discussion. I don't necessarily disagree with this idea, but I would like to continue exploring this topic through the idea of natural evolution.

posted on Mar, 4 2008 @ 11:57 PM
ET is us.

But I mean, who are you?

You're all a little weird here I think.

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