Society has become totally obsessed with the search for alien life. The media is filled to the brim with stories about alien abductions, sightings of strange crafts, as well as stories about alien invasions. Aliens fascinate us, and to a point, it's totally understandable.
The concept of beings from another planet, especially intelligent beings who come to visit us, is mindblowing. Movies show them in an infinite number of different forms, but obviously, that's not going to be what would probably be possible in reality.
So, what would aliens really look like?
We decided to look at the science and find out.
The concept of parallel evolution suggests that the most likely aliens we'd see in a space ship would look humanoid in nature.
A common concept discussed in biology is the concept of parallel evolution. Parallel evolution is the independent evolution of similar characteristics in totally different environments. If we were to see what would aliens really look like, the chances that they would be examples of parallel evolution on an extreme scale.
Certain things would have to be true in order for them to be able to build technology capable of interstellar travel. They would probably have to be (at the very least) bipedal. To make tools and tech, they also would have to have hands, or appendages that function like hands.
To do a lot of vital tasks required of an intelligent, space-traveling race, they also would have to have critical body parts as well. They also would likely need eyes to see, and they also will need a way to absorb nutrients, such as a mouth.
Since they are living creatures, they will also need a reproductive system. After all, the chances of them reproducing by budding after a certain size would probably shrink due to how inconvenient it would be.
If this sounds pretty similar to people, that's because it is. Most scientists agree that this would be the very basic body requirements needed for a species capable of traveling light years.
However, this doesn't mean that they would look identical to us by any means. It just means they would look somewhat humanoid. They may have cold blood, or grey skin, or reptilian features, or just about any other sci-fi alien trope you could imagine.
This alone gives you a good idea of what aliens would look like on a home planet far away.
If we were to get more specific, aliens would have different features than us depending on what their environments would be like.
Aliens in a high gravity area would be smaller, since high levels of gravity in respect to earth would probably cause larger creatures to get crushed to death. They also would have to have a much stronger bone structure to deal with the gravity, too.
Meanwhile, low gravity and aquatic environments would allow for larger animals...and also would make bodies that are less bony possible. However, the chances of an octopus-like creature being capable of interstellar flight are slim. So, there's that to consider, too.
Skin tone would also likely be determined by the solar system, or by the environment they live in.
To know what would aliens really look like, you'd have to look at the sun from their home planet's perspective.
Evolution has taught us that skin tone can make or break our chances for survival. Dark skin has been proven to be advantageous in warmer, sunnier latitudes. This is why humans only began to develop lighter skin tones when they began to migrate towards colder climates.
Similarly, animals that evolve in caves are exposed to very little light. With no light available, their eyes become large and their skin becomes completely pale.
So, it's safe to say that aliens from cold or dark climates would probably be extremely pale compared to us — and also would shy away from light. Meanwhile, aliens that come from extremely sunny or warm will have darker skin.
But, what would aliens really look like, if they have been evolving to work with the tech they created?
Space travel and longterm reliance on technology has already been proven to have extremely strong effects on our health as a species. Consider the following:
- Astronauts often find that they can not do a lot of physical tasks after long stays in space due to muscle and bone deterioration.
- Because of space radiation, astronauts also get exposed to more radiation than they would on Earth.
- Technology in the form of vaccines and healthcare has also caused immune systems to fail — and for genetic issues to be at a higher risk of being passed on.
- In the case of exposure to toxic waste, genetic damage can also be a long term effect.
- Cloning has also been linked to genetic damage in animals, which suggests bad things for human DNA as well.
- Technology that allowed for Cesarean birthing has caused head size to increase dramatically as well.
Some of these issues can be solved through better technology, including the radiation issue and certain forms of genetic damage. Over the years, it could be possible that they solved some problems — but gained others.
Considering the darkness of space and the high chance of muscle degeneration, it's very likely that you already have seen what aliens would really look like. Simply put, they would probably have slender bodies due to muscle and bone issues, large eyes, and judging from the trends humans have seen, large skulls too.
Of course, being a member of a tech-infused cluster like the Borg might also be doable, too. However, that's less alien and more robot than anything else.