Sunday, December 23, 2007

Parallelism, Convergence, or something else

For the purposes of , tonight, I'm thinking about the three --or four-- reasons that romantically inclined aliens might look reasonably like us.

Convergence might be the most "fun". That is where a species evolves to look like another species, often a prey species, for a good and sufficient evolutionary reason. For instance, all the better to prey upon us.

Vampires might be a good example. The book "The Sparrow" had another cool example. Imagine a lion evolving to look a lot more like a wildebeest, so it could get really close to its prey without being noticed.

Parallelism is where different species evolve independently, but end up looking the same. We might like to think that this is because the design is the perfect adaptation.

Intelligent design, or divine intervention. One God --from outer space-- either liked the model so much that He --or She-- duplicated it. Or else, He --or She-- was not entirely satisfied, and created new and improved versions of the basic model.

Seeding... "gods from outer space" who were simply more technologically advanced, for whatever reason --not necessarily moral--, colonized, terraformed, performed cross-breeding experiments, and then went away (or didn't).

Of course, you could also have almost any combination of any of those, as in the case of the race of alien males whose own females have become sterile (or vice-versa) and therefore they abduct us, and as a result, evolve to look even more like us.

Have I missed anything out?

Happy Christmas!

Chess-inspired ("mating") titles. Gods from outer space. Sexy SFR. Poking fun, (pun intended). Shameless word-play.


  1. In Suzy McKee Charnas' incomparable THE VAMPIRE TAPESTRY, Dr. Weyland (sole survivor of his species) theorizes that he did indeed evolve to look like his prey (us) and that even his sexual equipment is "protective mimicry."

    Convergent evolution sounds plausible to me; think of the creatures in Australia that, although they're marsupials, look an awful lot (superficially) like placental carnivores and other families of mammals in the rest of the world. There's a particular body design that suits each environment, so why wouldn't it be repeated?

  2. Anonymous5:34 PM EST

    "The Sparrow" is a good example except that both species evolved together on the same planet.

  3. Anonymous7:11 PM EST

    Of the bunch, I like the "seeding" scenario best. It lends itself in an SF sense to many and varied worlds, all of whom might each think of themselves as the ultimate form. Fertile ground for culture clash, what?