If you’ve ever wondered what aliens look like, your brain has likely defaulted to the image of the big-eyed, greenish, lanky creatures of comic books and M. Night Shyamalan movies. And while that may be true of intelligent life outside of our solar system (not that we have any definitive way of knowing – yet), if there’s intelligent life in our own solar system, it probably resembles the humble octopus, says Japanese physicist and space expert Michio Kaku.
As Cheatsheet reports, Dr. Kaku is the author of a new book, The Future of Humanity (see this Inquisitr report for more about the book and Dr. Kaku’s theories), that touches upon a variety of topics related to space and the possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in our own solar system. And as far as alien life – of the intelligent variety – within our solar system, Dr. Kaku has a rather weird hypothesis about it.
Where Alien Life Exists Within Our Solar System
Apart from here on Earth, scientists believe there are two likely possibilities for where life can exist in the solar system. One place is Mars, where if any life exists, it would almost certainly be primitive, one-celled life forms such as fungi or bacteria. The other possibility is the oceans that exist on various moons out there in our celestial neighborhood, such as Jupiter’s Europa or Saturn’s Enceladus. Those oceans are covered by ice, but scientists believe life – even intelligent life – may lurk beneath their surfaces.
That alone means that any alien life in our solar system would have to resemble a terrestrial aquatic life form, says Dr. Kaku.
But There’s More To It Than That
As you know, Earth’s oceans are home to uncountable species of life, from primitive single-cell organisms to mammals whose intelligence rivals that of H. Sapiens. But Dr. Kaku thinks that alien civilization would require some features that, collectively, are limited to a handful of species under the sea. As he sees it, any intelligent alien civilization on Enceladus or Europa would have opposable digits for grasping things, have good vision, and have the ability to communicate.
That leaves octopuses – except they haven’t yet evolved the ability to communicate here on Earth. But in space, all bets are off. And in fact, a close cousin to the octopus – the squid – could potentially evolve something akin to communication, so it’s theoretically possible in cephalopods.
“On a distant planet under different conditions, one can imagine that an octopus-like creature could develop a language of chirps and whistles so it could hunt in packs. One could even imagine that at some point in the distant future, evolutionary pressures on Earth could force the octopus to develop intelligence. So an intelligent race of octopods is certainly a possibility.”
Of course, unless and until a sophisticated-enough space probe is sent up there, we’ll never know for certain.
Or perhaps – and this writer shudders to imagine the possibility – an octopus-like race of aliens has evolved the ability to live outside of water and is headed here to make contact.