“The universe could so easily have remained lifeless and simple -just physics and chemistry, just the scattered dust of the cosmic explosion that gave birth to time and space,” observed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.”The fact that it did not -the fact that life evolved out of literally nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved literally out of nothing -is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice. And even that is not the end of the matter. Not only did evolution happen: it eventually led to beings capable of comprehending the process by which they comprehend it.”
Oxford University zoologist, Sam Levin, has predicted that “if aliens have undergone 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.”
In a study published in the International Journal of Astrobiology scientists from the University of Oxford showed for the first time how evolutionary theory can be used to support alien predictions and better understand their behavior, showing that aliens are potentially shaped by the same processes and mechanisms that shaped humans, such as natural selection.
In the fascinating video above, the famed evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, appears to agree with Levin’s suggestion that “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 aliens.”
Image credit top of page: With thanks to photographer Max Alexander
Most Viewed Space & Science Headlines (2018)