EXTRATERRESTRIALS: WHERE ARE THEY?
October 12, 2009 6 Comments
EXTRATERRESTRIALS: WHERE ARE THEY?
Given our own curiosity as to life elsewhere in the cosmos, it is certainly conceivable that some of those who have evolved in the more ancient corners of the cosmos might be interested in and quite capable of not just observing, but visiting the Earth. If that is the case, it might be asked, then why don’t they announce themselves and open up lines of communication?
Perhaps, like good anthropologists they merely observe and gather information, and for the most part leave Earthlings to behave largely unmolested. Speculating wildly, maybe it is even against some type of Cosmic law. Or there is little or no motivation to visit a world that is just like a trillion other planets swarming with violent, sex-obsessed, power-hungry human-like creatures.
Or, perhaps the humans that evolved on other worlds self-destructed in the nuclear fires of their own making. That is, life appears, undergoes metamorphosis, humans emerge only to destroy human-life, the end.
SEEDS OF LIFE
The Universe may be buzzing with life, and some of these life forms, these “seeds of life,” have been repeatedly tossed into the abyss following impact shearings, cosmic collisions and Red Giant conditions followed by supernova. As the first evidence of Earthly life appeared almost immediately after the creation of this planet, and within 700 million year pummeling by all manner of debris, it thus appears that at least a few of these seeds–and their DNA– fell to Earth, as well as other planets. For further details see: Life on Earth Came From Other Planets. As DNA can only be produced by DNA, then it would appear that these initial DNA-life forms were exobiological in origin.
Not all immigrants survive. Most are probably killed or die as they journey through space. Those who crashed upon planets but under life neutralizing environmental likely perished, leaving no trace of their brief earthly sojourn, or their DNA. However, on many planets and moon, some of these “seeds of life” may well have remained dormant until the environment was sufficiently genetically altered so as to sustain them.
In this regard, the members of the five Kingdoms of Life who have taken root on Earth -including woman and man- could be considered a small representative sample, and a partial, limited example of life and its many manifold possibilities, as it exists, takes form, “evolves,” and struggles for existence elsewhere in the Universe.
However, as to those who survived these great journeys, they not only flourished but may have shared genetic information and then acted in concert to genetically engineer the environment. That is, the DNA of these organisms acted on the environment, which acts on gene selection, so as to promote DNA dispersal and activation.
Specifically, collectively these creatures, including all present day species, constitute a supra-DNA organism which promotes DNA expression and dispersal by acting on the environment which acts on gene selection thus releasing hidden stores of genetic information, including those codes for the recreation of creatures that long ago lived on other planets. Over the ensuing 3 billion years there soon emerged all manner of species, the vast majority of which had probably been programmed into the DNA of those creatures who long ago lived on other planets.
As DNA is the only source for DNA and life is the only source for life, and as the first DNA-based organism to appear on this planet must have arrived from another planet, then its stands to reason that the genetic instructions for creating all manner of organs, systems, and species, including creatures resembling modern woman and man, were inherited from exobiological organisms who possessed a visual, auditory, skeletal, cardiovascular, and nervous system; creatures who long ago lived on other planets. For further details see The Evolution of Life From Other Planets.
Similarly, since humans inherited their DNA from those who were among the first to take root on this planet, it can be concluded that human DNA traces it ancestry interminably into the long ago.
THE NATURE OF EXOBIOLOGICAL ORGANISMS
Evolutionary metamorphosis may be a principle of life on every suitable planet that is susceptible to genetic engineering. Dr Francis Crick, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for unraveling the genetic code, argued, in his book, Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature (Simon & Schuster, 1981) a highly advanced alien civilization that had developed billions of years ago had launched a rocket that struck the Earth, containing primitive spores , and this is how life on our planet began.
Be it directed panspermia as suggested by Dr. Crick, or the theory of evolutionary metamorphosispresented by Dr. Joseph, this does not mean that creatures identical to humans have or will necessarily “evolve” on every suitable, genetically engineered world. The five Kingdoms of Life which have taken root on Earth provide only a partial sample of life and its many manifold possibilities, as it may exist, take form, evolve, and struggle for existence elsewhere in the cosmos.
The Search for E.T. relies almost exclusively on the analysis of radio broadcasts. These radio signals are analyzed, for example, by the Megachannel Extra-Terrestrial Assay (META) program. In 2002, Backus and Tarter of SETI believed they’d picked up 11 radio signals, out of 60 trillion, which could not be explained by non-living sources or from Earth. Basing their search and analysis on what they know of human behavior and human technology, SETI decided these 11 signals were probably alien broadcasts. They had all the signatures scientists expect of a human radio transmitter, a frequency that could be transmitted across interstellar space and a very small bandwidth. SETI had discovered humans on another planet? NOPE. Not unless the aliens were playing hide the sausage, because one day it was there, and the next, it was gone. According to the late Carl Sagan these radio signals should be continuous.
All these assumptions are based on a human-centric POV. Sagan, NASA, SETI, all assume aliens behave like humans, think like humans, act like humans, communicate the say way. Problem is, they complain, the universe is getting in the way of finding our brothers and sisters on distant worlds. Interstellar gas clouds and atmospheric turbulence, and a host of other difficulties are believed to be the culprit, when in fact, the problem appears to be with the assumptions of the searchers. Aliens may not be anything like the humans of Earth.
As is apparent from an examination of the genomes of most species, the vast majority of their DNA is silent, the information they contain, unknown. This silent DNA may well have been expressed on other planets giving rise to innumerable species that might never be able to survive on this planet.
It is conceivable that various corners of the cosmos may be populated by non-cellular or non-DNA or non-carbon derived entities, some of which may also be highly evolved yet in ways that defy human (DNA-based) comprehension. This may be particularly true of life in distant galaxies; that is, those whose chemistry is radically different from our own.
Nevertheless, because the five kingdoms of Earthly life all contain DNA and consist of cellular components, we can make certain predictions about the characteristics of at least some extraterrestrial creatures.
We can predict that some alien life forms, like Earth based creatures, consist of living cells, which contain DNA. These cells would probably require water and have acquired electrical-chemical, generative powers for active transport of food, waste, and the transmission and reception of important messages. Some exobiological organisms would have evolved five or more senses and a brain that could process that information.
As on Earth, it is likely that some extraterrestrials possess the same “universal” genetic code and similar genetic memories, instructions, or potential within their DNA. Provided a variable Earth-like environment that was susceptible to genetic engineering, we could predict that on certain worlds, over time, a somewhat similar step wise sequence of increasing intelligence, complexity and diversity would take place involving numerous extinctions and recoveries.
Specifically, bacteria and simple microbes, plants and insects, and animals reminiscent of reptiles, repto-mammals, therapsids, mammals, primates, and human-like creatures might likely blossom and unfold; which does not mean to say they would look like their Earthly counterparts.
We can also predict that those aliens who are related to the Animal Kingdom of Life would be intelligent, and have brains comprised of nerve cells and DNA. With the exception of the sponge, all members of the Animal Kingdom of Life, be they vertebrate or invertebrate have specialized nerve cells and neurons that possess greatly enhanced information processing and intellectual capabilities, as compared to other cells.
Earth based vertebrate and invertebrate brain organization is basically identical at the neuronal level, e.g. possessing cell bodies, dendrites, axons, chemical neurotransmitters and peptides. Hence, those aliens belonging to the Animal Kingdom of Life would also have evolved brains which may differ from their counterparts on Earth depending on the species, and the age, size and climate of the planet in question.
Animal life on some planets would likely undergo the same definite sequence in cerebral structural and hierarchical organization and expansion, as is apparent in the progression from fish to primate brain; a process referred to as encephalization. This would include alien brains organized in a fish-like, reptilian, mammalian, or in a primate and thus, human-like fashion. And, in regard to human-like species, they would have likely evolved similar praxic, creative, technological and linguistic capabilities.
Hence, some aliens might posses a midbrain, and brainstem, which would control attention, movement, and sound and visual perception. Their brain would likely include an olfactory forebrain and limbic system which would mediate all aspects of sex, socialization, love, aggression, memory and emotion, including hunger and thirst. And among the advanced species, they would have evolved a six or seven layered neocortex that would overlay and shroud the older portions of the brain and subserve language and thought and thus the rational mind.
As humans have a propensity for exploration, curiosity and the seeking of knowledge, it could be assumed that those aliens who have reached a similar or advanced level of neurological development would, like Earthlings, share similar social- emotional, and intellectual inclinations, including curiosity, jealously, and pride. Regardless of differences in physical appearance, some advanced alien species -at least those who have evolved from mammal-like creatures- would likely behave, feel, and think in a manner grossly similar to human earthlings.
For example, like humans, it might be expected that some aliens would thirst for knowledge, or revel in games, sports, competition, conquest, exploitative acquisition, and the glory of rape and slaughter of war. Like modern humans, some aliens would be conquering, enslaving, predatory killers, with little or no compassion for the vanquished. Some aliens might be expected to behave in an irrational and destructive manner, whereas yet others would be seekers of knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual growth.
However, on some worlds, highly intelligent species, with an intellect comparable or far superior to humans, may have “evolved” from mammals other than primates, such as wolves and canines, or even insects or plants. Indeed, there may be “dog stars” where upright Canis sapiens sapiens stare into space wondering if they are alone; and planets blooming and buzzing with highly evolved intelligent vegetable and insect life.
On some ancient worlds, mammals may never have evolved, such that the metamorphosis of increasingly intelligent life arose from a completely different branch of the forest of life. The direct line leading to hominids may have been killed off due, perhaps, to that planet’s unique environment, climate, atmosphere, gravity, and distance from the sun, and/or because the planet passed through a viral cloud of contagion or was struck by massive debris which chopped off the branch that would lead to primates just before that branch began to bloom.
THE FUTURE OF EVOLUTION ON EARTH
Yet another possibility speaks to the future of advanced life on Earth which may not include humans. The nature of life, is death, over 99% of all species have become extinct. If the history of the Earth were a clock, fully modern humans have been on this planet for 15 seconds. Species come and go, but not so their genes. Most genes can be traced back to ancestral species which may have served as DNA-hosts, incubating these genes, saving them for transfer and eventual activation. Many of these ancestral genes had not been activated in ancestral hosts. Others underwent only minor modification and were expressed, such as the FOXP2 gene complex which contributes to human speech but exists in the reptile genome. Other strands of DNA underwent single gene or whole genome duplication, freeing them from inhibitory restraint; and once expressed they gave rise to new species. For further details see The Evolution of Life From Other Planets.
This raises the possibility that humans may also served as a DNA-host organism, incubating these genes (metamorphorically speaking) which may be passed on vertically or horizontally to other species including subsequent species that will evolve in the distant future.
Horizontal gene transfer is common. Humans and numerous species, including insects already share many of the same core genetic machinery.
Thus, when or if humans become extinct, these genes, including those which contribute to “human intelligence” or code for features which are “distinctly human” may become part of the genome of future non-human species which then continue to “evolve.”
Moreover, as most of the human genome is silent, coding for functions which are as yet unknown, “silent” genes coding for unknown traits may also be expressed in a future species, much in the same way that FOXP2, which can be found in the fish genome, underwent slight modification and contributed to human speech.
Who or what might be the beneficiaries of the human gene pool if humans cease to exist?
In addition to bacteria, insects are among those most likely to survive if humans destroy themselves in nuclear fires.
Entering the realm of pure speculation, it may be that future species which could be classified as “insects” may continue to evolve and may come to possess not just “human” genes, but some of the characteristics which made humans “distinctly human,” such as human intelligence, creativity, and so on, e.g., 6 foot tall “cockroaches” gazing into the heavens a billion years from now, pondering the nature of existence….
EVOLUTION IN THE ANCIENT CORNERS OF THE COSMOS
It is possible that those galaxies which are the most distant from our own, may harbor life forms dramatically different from our own. However, we can also predict that intelligent human-like beings may well be found on numerous planets and galaxies, particularly those worlds within our own Milky Way Galaxy which likely consists of a hundred billion suns and solar planets. That is, it might be expected that those solar systems which are closest to our own (vs those much further away) were likely contaminated and infected with genetic seeds similar to those, which on Earth, gave rise to humans and other members of the Animal Kingdom of Life.
Again, given that metamorphosis on this planet has been characterized by an obvious step-wise, leaping linear process of increasing intelligence, complexity and brain power, it could therefore be predicted that a similar process has occurred on those life bearing worlds similar to our own. However, as a progressive increase in intelligence and complexity is characteristic of life on this planet, and as up to 90% of the human genome is silent and has yet to be expressed (that is, on Earth), it can be predicted that aliens evolving in the older regions of the cosmos would probably have continued to evolve and undergo metamorphosis. These ancient ones may have long ago acquired new brain tissues and new layers of neocortex, and might be capable of processing sensory information which human brains may fail to even perceive much less comprehend.
For example, whereas humans have 6/7 layers of neocortex, those who live in the older regions of the cosmos may have developed 8 or 10, or 12 layers which may be thicker and contain more neurons than their Earthly counterparts. And they may have experienced expansions in those areas of the brain, such as the frontal lobes, which are associated with foresight, judgment, planning skills, and the ability to form long term goals and anticipate multiple long term consequence. These individuals would be correspondingly much more intelligent and creative than any Earthling. If that were the case, they may be able to perceive, deduce, discover, analyze, and assimilate juxtapositions and interrelationships that would be completely beyond human conception and comprehension.
Consider, the Cro-Magnon people of the Upper Paleolithic had a brain that was 30% larger than modern humans (Joseph, 2000a). And they sported an enlarged frontal lobe. Moreover, of the 3% of human DNA that is coded and expressed, about 50% of that is devoted to the human brain. This suggests that maybe as much as 30-40% of non-coding human DNA may be related to the functioning of the brain; silent DNA that could be activated in the future, and a small portion of which may have been activated during the Upper Paleolithic.
Consider, as a further thought experiments, the future of human evolution on this planet. If science marches on, and given advances in genetic engineering, the creation of designer babies, designer babies designing their own superior babies, future humans which genetically engineer their own brains and bodies… and imagine the nature of human life 1000 years from now. What of humans a million years from now? Or a hundred million? Or a billion? From the perspective of modern humans, these evolutionary advanced humans might seem as gods, even if they were still humans. And modern humans might seem like reptiles in comparison.
Then what of those planets which shine in the darkness of night which were formed billions of years before the Earth became a twinkle in god’s eye. If life evolved on these ancient worlds, what might they be capable of as compared to the humans of Earth?
Nevertheless, some advanced aliens who’ve evolved or genetically engineered additional layers of neocortex and expansions of the lobes of the brain, might still be subject to the same irrational forces that give rise to excitement, anger, envy, status seeking, violence, sexuality, and the desire to make love or war. Yet others may well have learned to manipulate their own genetic potential in order to eliminate destructive traits.
In addition, like social insects, on some ancient alien worlds the male line may have become more subservient to the less destructive and more orderly, docile and socially cooperative female of the species. Consider, for example, that the tiny Y (male) sex chromosome is gene poor whereas the X (female) chromosome is gene rich. Might the male gene depletion continue into the future? Would such worlds be less war-like but more nurturing and compassionate, and ruled by fascist matriarchs, and those more interested in high fashion, romance, darling little shoes, the sharing of feelings, cooperation, community, and social consensus rather than conquest and war?
LIFE IS EVERYWHERE
The “seeds of life” flow throughout the cosmos, and have probably rained down on innumerable worlds, including those much older than our own.
We can only speculate about the evolution of “highly advanced” “more intelligent” alien-life forms; Mermen and mermaids splashing beneath the waves, deep within the oceans of Europa; methane-breathing blobs swirling among the clouds of Jupiter…insects with gaze into the abyss and wonder: “Are we alone?”
but one need look no further than the Earth to deduce the nature of most extra-terrestrial life. Much of the biomass of this planet, and thus probably every “habitable” planet in this galaxy, are dominated by archae and bacteria.
Yes, the universe is probably crawling with microbes.