Life in space: Researchers say there are worlds with other people

Deepak Gupta February 18, 2022
Updated 2022/02/18 at 9:50 PM

It sounds like the dream of many: We are looking for life in space and find other people. To an astrobiologist from the University of Cambridge, that scenario doesn’t necessarily sound unrealistic. According to the scientist, it is likely that human-like evolution took place elsewhere in the universe. The core of his belief comes from the theory of convergent evolution.

Life in space: can it be human-like?

Could it be that the human species evolved independently of us not only on Earth but also on other planets? Some scientists find this idea absurd. For example, evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould believed that evolution was driven only by random sets of genetic mutations. It is very unlikely that exactly the same effects would occur twice. A life in space that is human-like would be unlikely in the eyes of the late scientist. The evolutionary paleobiologist Prof. Simon Conway Morris sees it differently.

Simon Conway Morris is a believer in the “convergent evolution” school of thought. In biology, convergence is “the development of similar traits in unrelated species that evolved through adaptation to a similar function and environment” (according to Bionity).

Who is Simon Conway Morris?
The British paleontologist Simon Conway Morris sparked a discussion among evolutionary researchers as early as 2005. Deutschlandfunk once wrote that the now 70-year-old believes in God, extraterrestrials and “in the very big plan behind things”. His conviction: Everything repeats itself. Everything follows a plan and nothing is random. As he once explained: “My position is that evolution as it has taken place must be compelling. There aren’t multiple options. Why I believe that, well, if you were to assume everything is coincidence, evolution one possibility out of many, then something like human intelligence would just be a lucky coincidence, an accident of sorts. But I say that something as complex as intelligence must have come about. Because we find it in a very similar form in animals like dolphins or crows.”

That’s what the scientist says

In an interview with BBC Science Focus magazine in November 2021, Simon Conway Morris reveals:

“It’s safe to say that the likelihood of something analogous to human development evolving is actually quite high. And given the number of potential planets we now have good reason to believe exist, even if the dice only roll in the right direction every 1 in 100 rolls, this still results in a very large number of intelligences who are scattered, who are probably similar to us.”

Simon Conway Morris

Simon Conway Morris isn’t the only Cambridge professor who thinks extraterrestrial life may have evolved in a similar way to humans: In early 2021, zoologist Arik Kershenbaum told Quanta magazine (via Futurism):

“Since evolution is the explanatory mechanism for life everywhere, the principles we discover on Earth should be applicable to the rest of the universe.”

Arik Kershenbaum

But if the scientist is right: why haven’t we found anything yet? A research team suspects that the so-called “gorilla effect” could be the reason why we don’t find life in space. Another study in the past also provided an answer to the question of how likely it is that extraterrestrial life is intelligent.

Sources: BBC Science Focus, Bionity, Futurism, Deutschlandfunk

Share this Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thumbnails managed by ThumbPress