Journal of Cosmology, 2011, Vol. 14.
Emeritus, Brain Research Laboratory, California
Key Words: Aliens, Consciousness, Extraterrestrials
1. We Are Not Alone
Do Extra-terrrestrials exist? There are five lines of evidence which indicate the answer is "yes."
1. In 1970 lunar soil samples were returned to Earth by the Luna 16 spacecraft in a hermetically sealed container and photographed (Rode et al., 1979). The photographs were later examined by Drs. Stanislav Zhmur, and Lyudmila M. Gerasimenko, who identified what they believed to be microfossils of coccoidal bacteria which resembled Siderococcus or Sulfolobus (Klyce, 2000; Zhmur and Gerasimenko, 1999). A third fossilized impression from the lunar surface resembles a spiral filamentous micro-Ediacaran (Joseph & Schild 2010), a species which became extinct over 500,000 years ago. In 2009, this author shared this photograph with five world-renowned experts in Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian fauna, and four of the 5 identified it as a microfossil, but too small to be an Ediacaran.
2. In 1971, a TV camera from the lunar Surveyor Space Craft was retrieved by Apollo 12 astronauts, after sitting 3 years on the moon, and a single bacterium (Streptococcus mitis) was found within (Mitchell & Ellis, 1971). In addition, the lunar camera was discovered to be covered with a film of "organic material of unknown origin" (Flory and Simoneit, 1972; Simoneit and Burlingame, 1971). The possibility of contamination prior to sending the camera to the moon, or after it was returned, was ruled out by the scientists who made this discovery. It is impossible that the microbe was the result of some other form of contamination, such as a sneeze or cough. Since a droplet of saliva contains an average of 750 million organisms, if contamination of the lunar TV camera was due to a scientist's inadvertent cough or sneeze, a multitude of related bacteria, and a "representation of the entire microbial population would be expected," rather than a single species and a single organism (Mitchell & Ellis, 1971). Moreover, this Streptococcus mitis was dormant, but came back to life.
3. There is evidence of extant life on Mars as detected by the 1976 Viking Mission Labeled Release experiment, which exploited the sensitivity of 14C respirometry and obtained positive responses at Viking 1 and 2 sites on Mars. The results indicated the possibility of living microorganisms on the red planet (Levin 2010;Levin & Straat 1976).
4. Microfossils resembling various species of bacteria, including cyanobacteria have been repeatedly discovered in meteors older than this soler system (Claus and Nagy 1961; Hoover 1998, 2006, 2011; Pflug 1984; Nagy et al. 1961,1963a,b; Zhmur and Gerasimenko 1999; Zhmur et al. 1997)
5. Two separate teams of scientists have determined, based on a genomic analysis, that DNA-based life has a genetic ancestry leading backwards in time over 10 billion years (Joseph & Wickramasinghe 2011; Sharov 2009), which is twice the age of Earth.
However, none of these discoveries provide direct evidence for complex extra-terrestrial eukaryotic life. Nevertheless, the recent discoveries reported by Richard Hoover (2011), coupled with a wealth of data from genetics, microbiology, and astrobiology detailed in the edited text, "The Biological Big Bang," (Wickramasinghe 2011), leads inescapably to the conclusion we are not alone and that complex life could have evolved on innumerable Earth-like planets--life forms which may have also evolved a human-like consciousness.
Richard Hoover (2011), for example, has presented evidence of ancient bacterial microfossils resembling cyanobacteria in 3 separate meteorites; the remains of organisms which dwelled on astral parent bodies which may have included moons, comets, and planets older than Earth. Hoover also found the remnants of cynobacteria mats which can take up to 6 months to form. And they were discovered in a meteor older than Earth. It is Cyanobacteria which helped create the oxygen atmosphere of this planet. Cyanobacteria also secrete calcium when creating their mats, and this calcium made it possible for shells, bones, and the skeletal system to evolve (Joseph 2010).
Cyanobacteria are a hardy species, and can live in extreme environments. Therefore, if Cyanobacteria are deposited on Earth-like planets, it can be assumed they would also biologically engineer these alien worlds, providing them with an oxygen atmosphere and flooding the environment with calcium, thereby making it possible for the evolution of bones and brains and for life to evolve into intelligent species, similar to or completely different from, and possibly more intelligent than woman and man.
Most scientists will agree that life on this planet evolved from single celled microbes. Moreover, there is evidence of biological activity in this planet's oldest rocks dated to over 4.2 billion years ago (Nemchin et al., 2008; O'Neil, et al., 2008) when Earth was bombarded with extraterrestrial debris. Therefore, life was present on this planet from the beginning. As there is absolutely no convincing evidence that life began on Earth via an Earthly-abiogenesis, then it seems reasonable to assume that living creatures fell to Earth encased in stellar debris which pounded the Earth for 700 millions years after the creation (Joseph 2000a, 2009a, 2010). Similar events must have taken place on innumerable planets, thereby allowing life to take root and evolve. And if these planets were Earth-like, then life would have also evolved.
And what if these bacterial "seeds of life" fell upon planets unlike our own? If they could take root and flourish, they might evolve into creatures completely unlike those of Earth. This might account for the truly "alien" microbes discovered by Hoover (2011).
In fact, even if we accept that life on Earth began via an Earthly-abiogenesis, then the same must have taken place on a hundred million planets in this galaxy alone.
The implications are profound. It can be assumed that life is everywhere and has a cosmic ancestry which extends backwards in time, interminably into the long ago, and that intelligent life has evolved on countless Earth-like planets (Joseph 2010). And we can predict that life must have continued to evolve on innumerable worlds which are much older than Earth.
But what forms might they take? Might they be human? Intelligent plants? Insects that ask: "are we alone?"
What might be the nature of life on planets with a chemistry and environment completely unlike our own? If complex life exists on worlds billions of years older than Earth, how and in what way might it have evolved? Consider our own planet. If we don't die out, and if science marches on, what might humans be like a million years from now? What about ten million, a hundred million, or a billion years from now? They might seem as "gods" even if they were still human. There are stars which shine in the darkness of night which were born billions of years before the Earth became a twinkle in "god's eye." What might be the nature of life on these ancient worlds?
2. Life in Other Galaxies
Life is everywhere, throughout our galaxy and the cosmos, and life has evolved on planets much older than our own.
Be it a finite (Big Bang) or infinite universe, life many have achieved life, numerous times, but life need only have been fashioned once to spread throughout the cosmos via dispersal mechanisms of panspermia, e.g., comets, asteroid impact, solar winds, rogue planets. Bacteria, archae, and viruses are the ideal intergalactic messengers and can survive and flourish in most any environment. Therefore, it is highly likely that other planets and moons orbiting other stars in this galaxy are also host to single celled organisms which were generated via abiogenesis, and/or which came to live on these worlds after their ancestors were deposited on these planets encased in planetary debris. And it can be predicted that life on some of these planets has evolved, and that viruses and prokaryotes carrying copies of these highly evolved genes have been dispersed to other planets, solar systems, and galaxies thanks to meteor impact, solar winds, and even colliding galaxies (Joseph 2000, 2009a, 2010; Joseph & Schild, 2010). And once deposited on other planets, these microbes may have exchanged genes with the denizens of those worlds, thus influencing the trajectory of evolution on those planets, or if lifeless but located in a habitable zone these microbial sojourners from the stars may have biologically engineered these worlds thus making it possible for more complex species to evolve.
The number of galaxies in the known, Hubble length universe, is unknowable, though if we were to venture a guess, it might be a trillion sextillion. As detailed in this text, life could have been independently generated in every galaxy, via abiogenesis taking place in nebular clouds, comets, or those planets equipped with the right ingredients. A single galaxy, such as Andromeda, may contain over a trillion stars (Mould, et al., 2008), each of which is likely ringed with planets. Thus each galaxy likely contains trillions of planets, at least some of which are crawling with life. However, in an infinite, eternal universe, life had to be generated only once and its progeny could then be transferred throughout the cosmos.
Life may be transferred between galaxies when galaxies collide or begin to orbit one another, as is the case with the Sagittarius Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy and the Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy, which orbit and have exchanged stars with the Milky Way (Chou, et al., 2009; Majewski et al., 2003; Martin et al., 2004). Galaxies are in motion and crash into one another from every conceivable direction. It is believed that Andromeda and the Milky Way galaxies will collide in just a few billion years (Cox and Loeb 2008). During collisions, as galaxies merge or as stars (and their planets) are stripped away and exchanged, it is certainly conceivable that life living deep beneath the surface of host planets, would survive galactic transfer. And once in a new galaxy, they could then spread to other solar systems, thereby transferring genes between galaxies.
Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is common between viruses and prokaryotes, prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and eukaryotes and viruses. Therefore, it can be predicted that genes are shared when organisms from different solar systems and galaxies come in contact (Joseph 2000a, 2010; Joseph & Schild 2010). Through HGT, genetic evolution on one planet, can effect the evolution of species on other planets and even in other galaxies.
Although we can only speculate about the nature of life on other galaxies, we know that carbon-based life equipped with DNA has certainly taken root in the Milky Way. Therefore, it is certainly possible that different galaxies may host DNA/carbon-based life. It is equally likely they also harbor completely alien and unique, non-DNA, non-carbon based life.
Life on Earth is probably just a sample of life's possibilities.
3. Life, the Habitable Zone and Genetic Engineering of the Biosphere
The nature of life on other planets, at least in our own Milky Way galaxy, likely includes single celled organisms, similar to, if not identical to archae and bacteria, particularly those referred to as extremophiles. Stars give off light and radiation, and rocky planets contain minerals, metals, and a variety of gases, such as hydrogen or even carbon dioxide belched out by volcanoes. Some of these worlds are completely or partially covered with vast amounts of water. Therefore, we can predict that innumerable planets, particularly those located in habitable zones, are crawling with photosynthetic and chemosynthetic organisms and those which feast on acids and metals. We could also venture that these organisms release gases as waste products, such as methane and oxygen. Simple life forms which can extract energy from these "wastes" would also evolve, as well predators which would feast on these microbes, and scavengers which would consume the dead. These creatures would also exchange genes, thereby contributing to evolutionary innovation.
On Earth, horizontal gene exchange is a common currency of exchange among viruses, prokaryote and eukaryotes. The eukaryotic genome was largely shaped by prokaryote and viral genes which triggered multi-cellularity (Joseph 2010). As detailed in this text, these genetic interactions have played a key role in the evolution and diversification of increasingly complex and intelligent species, including modern humans. Other major factors contributing to biological complexity include the environment, the genetically engineered biosphere, and the location of our planet in the habitable zone.
On Earth, the trajectory of evolutionary development continued to enfold over the ensuing 540 million years; a progression which led from boneless fish, to fish, amphibian, reptile, repto-mammals, therapsid, mammal, prosimian primate, monkey, ape, and a dozen or more species of pre-humans. The first species of Homo emerged around 2 million years ago, and via various branching evolutionary trajectories, one branch of Homo evolved into anatomically and neurologically modern humans 30,000 years B.P., whereas others led to evolutionary dead ends, such as Neanderthal.
Given that animal metamorphosis on this planet has been characterized by an obvious step-wise, sometimes leaping linear progression 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 and which are much older than our own, and those completely alien to our own, such as worlds covered completely with water.
As a progressive increase in intelligence and complexity is characteristic of animal life on this planet, and as up to 90% of the modern human genome is silent and has yet to be expressed (that is, on Earth), it can be predicted that human evolution will continue into the future. Similarly, human-like or animal-like aliens evolving in the older regions of the cosmos would have continued to evolve and undergo metamorphosis, surpassing our own level of development a long time ago. However, it is also likely that these evolutionary-advanced alien life forms, may not be human.
4. Extinction and Evolutionary Possibilities
The path to mammals and humans is just one of genetic evolution's many possibilities. Yet other roads have led to plants, birds, and insects. Although much of the biomass of this planet has not evolved and consists of single celled prokaryotes, the genes donated by prokaryotes (and viruses) to eukaryotes have evolved, and evolution is the hallmark of multi-cellular life on this planet. Life evolves and evolution is a characteristic of life. Thus, there is no reason to conclude that evolution has come to a halt with humans or that evolution does not take place on other worlds.
As extinction and evolution are the nature of life on Earth (Elewa and Joseph 2009; Joseph 2009b), humans may continue to evolve. Or humans may become extinct, and yet other species may take the next evolutionary steps equipped with "human genes" acquired through horizontal gene transfer made possible with the assistance of viruses, archae and bacteria.
Dinosaurs were the dominant species for over 200 million years, but became extinct, paving the way for the ascendency of increasingly intelligent mammals, which led to humans. Every wave of extinction promotes the next stage of evolutionary development, with the progeny of some relatively primitive species becoming much more advanced than those which died out. For example, the egg laying therapsids evolved from repto-mammals and then evolved into and were largely (but not completely) replaced by mammals. Dinosaurs, however, also descended form repto-mammals, and some dinosaurs evolved into birds.
Mammals, insects, and plants also share common ancestors and many genes, including genes contributed by cyanobacteria to the eukaryotic genome nearly 4 billion years ago and probably repeatedly thereafter. Humans, insects, plants, and dinosaurs share common genetic ancestors. If, like the dinosaurs, humans and other mammals also become extinct, evolution would be expected to continue and shared genes might be expressed in plants or insects. Might the Earth of the future be populated with highly evolved intelligent plants with brains, or two-legged insects which gaze into the heavens and wonder: "Are we alone?" Could similar events have taken place on other planets?
5. Genetics and the Nature of Exo-Biological Organisms
It is reasonable to suspect that evolutionary metamorphosis is a principle of life not only on Earth, but on every rocky-watery planet located in the habitable zone of its solar system. Since evolution (and extinction) is characteristic of life on Earth, the same would be true of most every Earth-like planet which harbors microbes capable of biologically modifying the environment.
That does not mean, however, that creatures identical to humans will necessarily "evolve" on every suitable, genetically engineered world. The three domains and five Kingdoms of Life which have taken root on Earth may represent only a partial sample of life and its manifold possibilities as it evolves and struggles for existence elsewhere in the cosmos.
On Earth, the evolution of multi-cellular complexity was made possible via horizontal gene exchange from prokaryotes and viruses, the development of symbiotic relationships where genetically stripped down prokaryotes took up residence within eukaryotes, the insertion of viral genes into the eukaryotic genome, and then complex genetic interactions which altered and repeatedly increased the size of the gene pool and which acted on the environment which acted on gene expression (Joseph 2000a). As is apparent from an examination of the genomes of most species, genes may be shuffled, new genes created, different sections of nucleotides may be suppressed or activated, such that innumerable combinations of genetic elements may be expressed giving rise to diverse traits, characteristics, and species. However, different genetic combinations may prevail on other planets and in environments markedly different from our world. Complex, intelligent species may evolve which are completely unlike anything which has evolved on Earth.
As on Earth, it is likely that some extraterrestrials possess the same "universal" genetic code and a similar genetic endowment consisting of genes made up of nucleotides. Because the three domains and 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 within our own galaxy and on planets in solar systems closest to Earth. Some alien life forms, like Earth based creatures, consist of living cells. These cells would protect their genes within a nucleus, probably require water, and might 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.
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. 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 they would look like their Earthly counterparts.
6. Alien Minds
There are trillions upon trillions of ancient galaxies consisting of a trillion trillion trillion trillion aged solar systems that are likely ringed with planets -many probably quite like our own. And, just as Life has "evolved" on this world, it could be predicted that Life has emerged on at least a few of these planetary archipelagoes and this would include creatures who long ago "evolved" in a fashion similar to woman and man.
We can predict that those aliens who are genetically related to the Animal Kingdom of Life would be intelligent, and have brains comprised of nerve cells and DNA. Almost all members of the Animal Kingdom, 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. Further, the genes coding for brain tissues are similar across species and were inherited from common ancestors which were brainless. These genes, or their precursors, did not randomly evolve. Many can be traced backwards in time to the first eukaryotes and prokaryotes whose ancestors hailed from other planets. As prokaryotes and viruses are the ideal intergalactic genetic messengers and can survive in most any environment, then some of this same genetic luggage was likely delivered not just to new Earth, but innumerable other planets.
Hence, those aliens related to the Animal Kingdom of Life and possessing similar genes, would also have evolved brains. Of course, these alien brains may differ from their counterparts on Earth depending on the age, size, climate, and physical-chemical nature of the planet in question.
(Left) Brain 500 mya. (Right) Ventral View Human Brain
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 compasion 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, humans or other animals which evolved on planets billions of years older than Earth, may have long ago acquired new brain tissues and new layers of neocortex, and might be capable of processing sensory information which human-Earthling brains may fail to perceive much less comprehend. The humans of Earth have 6 layers of neocortex (which houses the rational, intellectual, logical, analytical regions of the mind). Those who live in the older regions of the cosmos may have evolved 8 or 10, or 12 layers which may be even thicker and contain more neurons than their earthly counterparts.
Alien species need not have evolved on older worlds to have evolved sensory capabilities which dwarf those of human Earthlings. Consider a planet where highly intelligent species have evolved the ability to see via the polarization of light as is the case with insects, and who use echolocation (biosonar), similar to that employed by shrews, bats, and cetaceans. These aliens would be able see objects and animals whose location and shape are defined by sound and would be sensitive to spectrums of light invisible to human eyes. And what if they also evolved the ability to navigate in space by sensing their planet's magnetic fields, as is the case with birds. Coupled that with increased auditory, tactual and olfactory chemo-sensory perception in a wide range of species. Although the humans of Earth have five senses, there is every reason to suspect that given countless worlds, that some life forms may have developed 10 or more highly developed senses, and a highly developed brain capable of processing this information. There are over a trillion sextillion galaxies in the observable regions of this universe. Each galaxy is likely ringed with a 500 billion to a trillion stars, many with planets like our own. A sextillion sextillion planets in the tiny fragment of the cosmos so far observed. What is the likelihood that only this tiny spec of rock, air and water, our Earth, is the only planet that has evolved intelligent life? What is the likelihood that human intelligence is the crown of creation, and that intellectual evolution stops with us?
7. Extra-Terrestrials: Where Are They?
In 1972 and 1973, NASA attached a pair of gold anodized aluminum plaques to the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spacecraft, in the hope they would be intercepted by aliens. The plaques featured a nude male and female, along with several symbols designed to tell extraterrestrials about humans and the location of the Earth.
So far, Aliens have not responded.
Where are they? Why haven't they announced their presence?
From the perspective of a hypothetical ET, maybe what has taken place on this planet is so common and mundane, there is no motivation to communicate with a world that is just like a trillion other planets swarming with human-like creatures. Or maybe the humans of Earth are so violent we have been cut off from the rest of the cosmos, isolated, like a disease.
The nature of life, is death, over 99% of all species have become extinct. If the history of the Earth were a 24-hour clock, fully modern humans have been on this planet for only 15 seconds. Unlike other animals, humans flirt with species-wide mass suicide and mutual self-destruction. The human animal can also become extinct. Maybe this is what the future has in store and this is characteristic of human life on other planets.
If human life evolved on other worlds, perhaps they are no more; self-destructing in poisoned planets or the nuclear fires of their own making. Maybe this is a pattern throughout the cosmos: humans evolve and destroy human-life, bequeathing their planets to insects and microbes: the end.
...And before the universe could take a breath, they were no more.
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 making contact is prohibited and is even against some type of Cosmic Law. Or perhaps 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.
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.
8. Do Aliens Listen to the Radio or Watch TV?
There are many who scoff at the idea that life exists anywhere but Earth. For decades the skies have been scoured for extra-terrestrial radio transmissions. The failure to detect them is believed to be evidence that we are truly alone, and that life is present only on Earth which is special and unique.
It is naive, however, to believe that radio or TV transmissions are a yardstick for the measure of intelligent alien life. Highly creative, artistic, talented, and intelligent humans sporting a brain 1/3 larger than modern humans, stalked the Earth over 30,000 years B.P, i.e. the Cro-Magnon peoples (Joseph 2000b). Without benefit of radio, TV, or electricity, Neolithic cultures built Stonehenge, the ancient Egyptians erected the pyramids and in ancient China the "Great Wall." The ancient Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Mayans, and peoples of India, and so on, developed science, culture, religion, and created monumental buildings, temples, and empires--all without the benefit of radio, TV or vehicles which could propel them through space.
The very concept of "radio" and wireless communication was not even conceived of until the mid 1880s, and the first successful radio transmissions had to wait until the mid 1890s and only after the creation of the first radio receiver. In the mid 1920s, television was invented. The first space craft to successfully orbit Earth took place in 1957. In the 4.6 billion year history of our planet, these technologies have been around for less than 200 years, and they replaced inferior technologies such as the telegraph and candle lit street lights and homes. Will radio, television, and rocket powered space craft become obsolete in the next 150 years, replaced by some superior technology no one has yet conceived?
There is absolutely no reason to expect that highly intelligent alien life use the same recently invented technology as the humans of Earth; a technology which could become technologically obsolete in another 200 years and which is modeled on and relies upon just two of the human senses, audition and vision. What if alien technology relies upon quantum computers, gravity, magnetic radiation, or sensory capabilities humans have not evolved?
The failure to detect electronic transmissions or space craft from other planets does not mean we are "alone."
9. The Evolution of Non-Human Alien Intelligence
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 such that their brains more greatly rely on photo-chemistry or chemo-olfactory-sensations? Dogs and wolves are remarkably like humans, which is why they can live together in harmony. However, there may be "dog stars" where dogs became the dominant life forms. Instead of prosimian primates, it was the ancestors of dogs and wolves which took to the trees. They grew hands instead of claws, climbed back down, stood up, and Dogus Erectus was born! Following a similar sequence as the evolution of humans on Earth, over millions of years Dogus Erectus was replaced by Dogus Neandertailwagus, then Crodogonus, and then, fully modern Sapiens Canis Dogus (the wise dog). There is no reason to assume that dogs, which are so similar to humans, could not have evolved in place of humans, and that on innumerable worlds upright Canis sapiens sapiens stare into the starry night wondering if they are alone.
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.
Consider, on Earth, around 150 mya to 130 mya, flowering plants, flying insects, and transitional species between dinosaur and bird --Archaeopteryx and Anchiornis huxleyi (Elżanowski, 2002; Hou et al., 2009; Yalden, 1984; Xu et al., 2009)-- had begun to coevolve at an accelerated pace, with flying insects and Archaeopteryx/Anchiornis sharing the skies with flying reptiles such as Pterosauria/pterodactyls (Naish & Martill, 2003; Wang et al., 2008), who had taken to wing 220 mya.
Therefore, long before the demise of the dinosaurs, major evolutionary innovations and developments had already taken place, to the mutual advantage of plants, insects, birds, and mammals who began to proliferate. If insects, birds and plants had become extinct with the demise of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago, mammals would have also likely disappeared from the face of Earth. However, insects, birds and plants would have continued to prevail if mammals along with dinosaurs had been driven to extinction.
By the same token, if mammals had been driven to extinction, and since birds, insects, and even flowers share many of the same genes as mammals, then in the absence of mammals, what could have evolved in place of mammals could be as different and as unrecognizable as the link between dinosaurs and birds.
As detailed in this text, insects and humans also share core sets of genes which can be traced to common ancestors. Therefore, we can predict that if mammals had never evolved or had become extinct, components of the mammalian-human genome would have nevertheless evolved within the genomes of insects who already posses many "human" attributes.
Some insect societies, such as ants, are highly sophisticated, and include divisions of labor, a caste system, altruistic cooperation, complex communication, insect agriculture, the growing of food, weaving, building, the "domestication" of other insects which they corral and milk and eat; and like humans they war against one another and conquer and kill and enslave (Holldobler and Wilson, 1998; Wilson 1974).
Since most of the human and insect genome is "silent" and contains thousands of shared genes which have not yet been expressed, then it is possible that these genes may come to be expressed within the genomes of future species of insects. If humans and other mammals go extinct, social-communal living insects may grow in size, undergo physical transformation and evolutionary quantum leaps, possibly losing their characteristic "insect" physique, and advance to ever heightened levels of communal, cultural, and intellectual achievement. They may only superficially resemble the insects we know today and be as different as birds and dinosaurs, or egg laying mammals vs modern humans.
Likewise, there may be innumerable planets blooming and buzzing with highly evolved intelligent vegetable and insect life; planets where mammals and never evolved or where they became extinct.
Highly intelligent life forms may have evolved on some worlds in place of humans; and like birds they may have evolved a magnetic field sense, and like insects a heightened chemo-sensory sense, and like dogs a heightened olfactory sense. And they may employ technologies which exploit sensory capabilities that humans lack and would never detect.
On yet other Earth-like worlds, humans may have long ago evolved into something that is no longer human. On planets that are billions of years older than Earth, these alien-humans, like those populated by intelligent plant and insects, may have invented technologies or means of communication completely unlike our own.
What is the likelihood that intelligent plants and insects, or other species of mammal which evolved in place of humans, or evolutionary advanced humans, would be interested in contacting or communicating with the violent, dangerous, waring, raping, mass-murdering, sex-obsessed humans of Earth?
10. Aliens from the Stars
In 1988 story by Ian Watson, "The Flies of Memory" the Earth was invaded by an extraterrestrial race of flies. "We have come to your planet to remember it" they said, and made a request to tour all the Earth's great cities. They were "bloody ugly" creatures who communicated with one another by whistles and chirps. These alien flies had six skinny hairy black legs, the two in the back being the longest which enabled them to walk around on two legs. They were no true flies, not by Earth standards.
They had come from another planet, perhaps another galaxy, where humans had not evolved, or which long ago became extinct. They had come to Earth, to in fact, remember it, and they stared and gazed long and hard at the architecture of our planets greatest structural achievements.
Humans need not evolve on other worlds. Living things completely unlike humans could become the dominant intelligence of billions of planets. Alien life, such as the Flys of Memory, would also process information in ways far superior and completely alien to humans, making them far more superior.
Consider the fly. The flys of Earth have a brain which processes information in a fashion which makes us look quite primitive by comparison. They can process over 100 separate visual impression a second. Humans can muster only a meager 25 discrete images in the same time. The fly's brain enables these creatures to engage in lighting fast maneurvers and make split-second reactions to obstacles, flying around them unerringly, whereas the humans would slam smack dab into whatever was coming his way. For human eyes, anything more than 25 discrete images per second will merge into a continuous movement. A fly can perceive 100 images per second as discrete sense impressions and interpret them quickly enough to steer its movement and precisely determine its position in space.
In the human brain, movements in space produce so-called "optical flux fields" so that objects rush past on the sides, and foreground objects appear to get bigger. Near and distant objects appear to move differently. Fly's perceive movement moment by moment. Therefore, space and time are perceived completely different in the brain of a fly vs a human.
The same can be said when comparing humans to innumerable species. Compare the olfactory sense of dogs vs man. Auditory perception in bats. Creatures which can perceive visual images in ranges of light which are not perceivable to humans.
What of life forms on other planets which have all these superiorities? And why would they be interested in communicate with the humans of Earth, who by comparison might appear to be as primitive as reptiles.
11. 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.
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.
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....
Humans have acquired the DNA-technology to screen the human fetus for genetic defects, and to chose the sex, eye and hair color of their babies.
If science marches on, and if humans do not self-destruct in a world-wide nuclear war, we can predict that within the next thousand years humans will have acquired and will employ the technology to genetically design babies who are more handsome, beautiful, athletic, and intellectually far superior to their parents.
Naturally, the rich, famous and powerful would be the most likely to afford and the first to employ this genetic-technology. These first generations of genetically altered humans would be members of the privileged class.
It is not unreasonable to assume that these intellectually superior Designer Babies of the future, would develop technologies superior to those of modern humans. Using their greater genetically-enhanced intelligence, these first generation "Designer Babies" may genetically design their own babies who presumably would do the same to their own infants if not to their own bodies and brains.
Therefore, in the next thousand years, a small select group of "humans" may repeatedly genetically engineer their own evolution, and undergo such rapid evolutionary change that they become as different from modern humans as birds are from the dinosaurs.
From the perspective of modern humans, the genetically altered humans of the future may become so technologically and intellectually advanced, that they may appear as "gods," whereas modern humans might appear no better than reptiles in comparison.
Human history is replete with mass murder and genocide, with technologically advanced civilizations destroying those which could not compete. Throughout history members of various ethnic groups or "races" have sought to enslave or eradicate other races, which they viewed as inferior "useless eaters."
From the perspective of the first, second, or third generation of designer babies, the bulk of undesigned humanity might appear as inferior, primitive, all consuming competitors for diminishing resources. Therefore, we might predict that the genetically, intellectually enhanced designer babies of the future might decide to completely eradicate and exterminate the last of "modern" humanity, and this is how humans, as we know them, finally become extinct.
As our Milky Way galaxy is over 13 billion years old, and if life in this galaxy began to evolve on Earth-like planets 13 billion years ago, then creatures similar to humans may have also evolved on millions of worlds, in this galaxy alone, billions of years before Earth became a twinkle in "god's" eye. On worlds more ancient than our own, these human-aliens could have also genetically engineered their own evolution, and evolved beyond their counterparts of Earth, long before this planet even formed.
12. The Evolution of the Gods
Can a man comprehend a god?
Who dares speak for god?
Even the Gods have Gods...
Consider, of the 3-5% of human DNA which is required to build a human, 20% of that is used to create a brain, and another 30% of that DNA is expressed in the process of running and maintaining the brain. That is, 50% of the 3-5% of DNA which is coded, serves the human brain. Since over 90% of the 30,000 or so genes that make up the human genome have not been expressed, this means that thousands of suppressed genes may be available for future cerebral metamorphosis and expansion of the brain.
(Left) Brain 500 mya. (Right) Human Brain
Chimpanzee vs Australopithecus Skull
Human vs Ape Brain
Chimp vs Human Brain
(Right) CroMagnon Skull. (Left) Modern human skull superimposed on CroMagnon Skull
(Top) Neanderthal Skulls. (Bottom) CroMagnon Skulls.
However, whereas Neanderthals shared the planet for at least 10,000 years with the more evolutionary advanced CroMagnons (who stood 7 inches taller and had a much larger brain), modern humans also likely share the cosmos with evolutionary advanced beings. What might be the perceptual and intellectual abilities of beings which began to evolve before Earth was formed? Might language, the internet, TV, radio, and other primitive means of communication have been been replaced by telepathy, clairvoyance, psychic teleportation, and mind reading in those who long evolved in the more ancient corners of the cosmos?
There are trillions upon trillions of ancient galaxies consisting of a trillion trillion trillion trillion aged solar systems that are likely ringed with planets -many probably quite like our own. And, just as Life has "evolved" on this world, it could be predicted that Life has emerged on at least a few of these planetary archipelagoes and this would include creatures who long ago "evolved" in a fashion similar to woman and man. Likewise, since increased complexity and progressive cerebral encephalization is characteristic of the evolution of brain-based life on this planet, the same could be expected on other complex-life bearing worlds. On planets where animals have evolved, it can be predicted that the brain has also increased in size and complexity, giving rise to increasingly intelligent species.
Given what has taken place on this planet over the course of the last 500 million years and the human-genetic potential which is yet to be realized, if similar DNA-based life forms exists elsewhere, then those who dwell in the more ancient corners of the cosmos may have evolved beyond modern humans ten billions of years before the first upright human emerged from the mists of time...and billions of years before the Earth became a twinkle in God's eye....
Human 6-Layered Neocortex
Hypothetical 12-layered Extra-Terrestrial Neocortex
And what are the powers of a "god?" What might be the creative and intellectual potency of a being whose brain and civilization is 10 billion years older than our own, and which has likely engineered their own DNA, who continued to evolve and who has 10 or more layers of neocortex --compared to those 6 we call our own? What of a civilization that has had 10 billion years to seek technological perfection?
Consider, 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? Then what of those planets which shine in the darkness of night which were formed nearly 10 billions of years before Earth? If life evolved on these ancient worlds, what might they be capable of as compared to the humans of Earth?
It could be expected that these ancient ones might have evolved new brain tissues and additional layers of gray matter and neocortex... gaining intellectual and perceptual capabilities which provide not just a "6th sense" but a 10th sense, completely eclipsing all aspects of human cognition, perception, and intelligence. From the perspective of those who evolved in the ancient regions of the cosmos, the human brain and mind may seem to be just one small step above a frog or a reptile; which, in many ways it is.
Conversely, the human ability to comprehend the intellectual, scientific and technological accomplishments and capabilities of an alien brain organized in this evolutionary advanced fashion, might be analogous to a lizard's ability to comprehend a man. That is, the mental, intellectual, creative, and technological capabilities of creatures who began to evolve ten billion years ago, would lie well beyond human understanding. From the perspective of modern humans, these evolutionary advanced alien humans might seem as gods, even if they were still human.
Archae, bacteria and viruses serve as intergalactic genetic messengers, influencing the evolution of life on other planets. The ancestors of life on Earth, and their genes, came from older, more ancient worlds. The genetic seeds of life flow throughout the cosmos, and we have inherited genes from all manner of life that evolved long before the Earth was formed, including from beings so evolutionarily and technologically advanced, they might seem as gods. As we are the genetic beneficiaries of this cosmic ancestry, this would mean that we are descended from the "gods" and that the humans of the future have the evolutionary and genetic potential to be as "gods" and perhaps evolve beyond good and evil.
In the unknown antiquity of the cosmos, where life may extend backwards in time interminably into the long ago, even the "gods" may have "gods" who have "gods" who have "gods".... an evolutionary progression which continues eternally, infinitely, and forever into the ever more....
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