In general, everybody probably believes that life exists somewhere else on another planet. Our telescopes keep getting better and better at finding exoplanets orbiting other star systems. And a few fall within the range of orbit as Earth does around our sun. But what kinds of life will there be on those other planets, if life forms at all? And what will it look like, especially the intelligent ones that have the capability to come to Earth? Most science fiction believes that those alien beings will be very much like us human beings, in form and substance.
Tonight, the Perpetual Notion Machine’s Dennis Shaffer has the pleasure of talking with Arik Kershenbaum, the author of the book The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal About Aliens – and Ourselves. Arik is a zoologist and Fellow at Girton College on the campus of the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Arik describes some of the processes that took place for life to begin and develop on Earth and suggests that these processes might also occur on other planets. The most important are the processes of evolution or natural selection, which without it we wouldn’t have the diversity and complexity of life that we have on Earth.
Also highlighted in his book, Arik talks about some of the amazing qualities of life on Earth, such as intelligence, communication, language, sociality, cooperation, and humanity, that is not just reserved for human beings. And if evolution proceeds in a similar course, depending on the environment of that particular planet, there is no reason why alien life shouldn’t have these same qualities.
Besides this audio discussion with Arik, another more comprehensive media article appears in Quanta Magazine.
More information about Arik’s book can be found at the publisher Penguin Press.
And if interested in ordering the book, here’s a link to Amazon.com.
Feature image courtesy of Ariane Moore and Penguin Random House