Tablet computers? Star Trek did it first. Video calls? Star Trek. Tech glasses? Deep Space Nine, mate. But a far more impressive prediction might yet be added to Star Trek's list.
Professor Simon Conway Morris, an evolutionary biologist from Cambridge University, has claimed that if we were to encounter intelligent life from another planet, it would look just like us.
In his new work The Runes of Evolution, Conway Morris outlines how the principle of convergent evolution should apply to creatures that originate from a planet that holds similar properties to our own Earth.
Convergent evolution describes the process by which apparently unrelated organisms develop similar physical attributes to solve problems posed by their natural environment - with Conway Morris giving the example of the complicated 'camera eye' found in both humans and octopus. Throughout the book he observes that "convergence hints at an underlying framework whereby many outcomes, not least brains and intelligence, are virtually guaranteed on any Earth-like planet".
"The theme is to try and drive the reader, gently of course, into the possibility that the things which we regard as most important, ie cognitive sophistication, large brains, intelligence, tool making, are also convergent," Conway Morris told The Independent. "Therefore, in principle, other Earth-like planets should very much end up with the same sort of arrangement."
So, if E.T. comes from a planet with a similar atmosphere, absorbing a comparable amount of light from a star about the same distance away as our own, and a whole bunch of other near-identical traits, it's only logical that the life that exists there will converge to a similar point of complexity as life on our own planet.
Here's hoping they all share an aesthetic similar to [insert name of current celebrity crush here].
[Via: The Independent]