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How large is an alien life form likely to be?


Posted on Tuesday, 7 April, 2015 | Comment icon 443 comments

An intelligent extraterrestrial may be unlike anything we can imagine. Image Credit: Henrique Alvim Correa
Cosmologist Fergus Simpson believes that intelligent extraterrestrials would be much larger than we are.
When we consider the possibilities of what an intelligent extraterrestrial life form might look like we tend to imagine something that looks a little similar to ourselves.

Given the enormous range of different planets and environments that must exist in the universe however there's a chance that if we did meet a member of an alien species they may be so different to us that they would be almost unrecognizable.

In a recently published paper, cosmologist Fergus Simpson took this idea one step further by theorizing that any intelligent extraterrestrials we happen to encounter are more likely to be significantly larger than we are and could weigh upwards of 300kg.
His calculations are based on the assumption that there is a minimum size that a life form needs to be in order to develop intelligence and that our species is on the lower end of that scale.

Simpson's theory however doesn't take in to account how the gravitational pull of any given planet might effect the size, weight and height of its inhabitants.

SETI director Seth Shostak commented on his findings by stating that they were "interesting" but expressed skepticism on the basis that "there’s really no concrete data to work with."

"Polar bears are large but do not write great literature and build radio towers and a lot of that is probably because they are walking around on all fours," he said.

Source: News Week | Comments (443)


Tags: Extraterrestrial, Life


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #434 Posted by psyche101 on 1 May, 2015, 4:13
Aliens if they exist,come on you know they do. Cool show me one.
Comment icon #435 Posted by psyche101 on 1 May, 2015, 4:15
True, if based on ET visitation we would probably have a pretty good idea how they look. Since we have allegedly been visited for the last almost 70 years, they can't be that big - I am sure we would have noticed Cheers, Badeskov Or maybe not? LOL! Alien Selfies!! .
Comment icon #436 Posted by Midyin on 1 May, 2015, 5:22
Yeah, one track mind. I am hoping for............ I am now arroused..... And confused.. I'll mail you my therapy bill..
Comment icon #437 Posted by DieChecker on 4 May, 2015, 20:45
Well yes, I strongly suspect that intelligent life is very rare. With 20 billion earth like candidates in our galaxy at last estimate, it seems plausible there will be quite a few world's that mirror earth. Just a freakishly long way away from us. Too far to make contact or visit. I think too far to contact and too far to visit are only based on a single human lifespan. Clearly if you aim some kind of laser at a suspect system, and if you launch off a high speed vehicle toward a star.... eventually they will get there. If is human impatience that makes such things "impossible". Yes, if life ca... [More]
Comment icon #438 Posted by psyche101 on 6 May, 2015, 6:36
I think too far to contact and too far to visit are only based on a single human lifespan. Clearly if you aim some kind of laser at a suspect system, and if you launch off a high speed vehicle toward a star.... eventually they will get there. If is human impatience that makes such things "impossible". Of course, but that is where we need the data. A 40,000 year round trip is pointless. I still think a 50 year trip to Alpha Centauri is a great idea. I'd argue that the ability to manipulate may require hand like structures, but free time has nothing to do with if you have hands or not. Many anim... [More]
Comment icon #439 Posted by DONTEATUS on 8 May, 2015, 15:05
We just need to Keep looking, Life is out there Peep`s ! No question , just time and Looking will prove this out !
Comment icon #440 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 10 June, 2015, 8:39
They can say whatever they want, i wanna see it!
Comment icon #441 Posted by Aquarius Chik on 10 June, 2015, 9:45
What if the aliens are not solid? Perhaps they are pure energy. Any trekkies out there (I'm sure there are a few) will remember "The Survivors" from STNG Perhaps the "aliens" ARE pure energy. More of a "spirit" being, perhaps? I doubt that any ST "aliens" exist at all, but maybe the "aliens" we speak of aren't really from outer space at all. Maybe they've always been here...... I persoanlly believe they have always been here- hiding the the water. Wouldn't THAT be a discovery?! We know more about outer space than we know about our own oceans. Quite disturbing.
Comment icon #442 Posted by Thorvir Hrothgaard on 10 June, 2015, 13:54
I persoanlly believe they have always been here- hiding the the water. Wouldn't THAT be a discovery?! Why do you believe this? We know more about outer space than we know about our own oceans. Quite disturbing. You know that's just a common misconception, right?
Comment icon #443 Posted by Shouldthisexist on 10 June, 2015, 16:25
Why do you believe this? You know that's just a common misconception, right? Wow are you serious??!! I didn't even know that was a misconception.


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