A new paper by a team of international scientists suggests that animals can be used to study alien life forms.
The team found that a variety of non-human animals could be used as a tool to learn about life on other planets.
The new work could have a huge impact on the study of life on distant planets.
The idea that animals could provide insights into how alien life might evolve and survive has been a popular theme in science fiction and media for a long time.
It is an idea that has been explored in science-fiction films and other media, but it has not been tested.
This paper, published in Nature, suggests that such a tool could be useful for studying life on the far side of the universe.
The paper’s lead author, Professor Daniela Riva from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, said: “We can use animals as a ‘test subject’ to learn how life evolves on planets other than Earth.”
For example, we might be able to identify whether a planet’s temperature is high enough to support life as we know it, and if it’s not, it might be possible to use that information to predict what kind of life might be present.
“In other cases, we may be able predict how organisms evolve when living in an icy, arid or hot climate.”
She added: “With animals, we can investigate the possibility that life could evolve through the interaction of many different factors, including changes in climate and chemistry, but we cannot directly see the evolution of organisms in detail.”
So the key here is to have a tool that can be combined with other observations.
“This tool could then be used for testing hypotheses about the evolution and structure of life in other planets, such as those that might have been visited by aliens.”
Prof Riva and her team began their research by identifying two major features of life that could help astronomers study alien worlds: a high proportion of nonhuman animals and the fact that the majority of animals have large, flat skulls.
They analysed images of more than 100 animal species, including more than 70 species of amphibians, mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, and identified more than 50 types of animals.
The analysis found that most of the animals had large skulls.
Prof Riva said: “This indicates that animals have a very low density of vertebral vertebrae, and that their skull is quite small compared to their body size.”
However, this could not be a sign that the animals were not alive, because the skull shape and size did not show any indication of living creatures.
The scientists were able to show that most nonhuman animal species had large heads and skulls.
They found that, on average, a typical animal has a large skull with a large proportion of smaller vertebra and more curved bones.
“It means that we should expect animals to have very large brains, and the presence of a small brain could help us understand how the brain evolved,” said Prof Riola.
But what about a lack of vertebra?
“In order to study vertebrates on other worlds, we would have to be able see animals with more complicated bones and the bones that are involved in different functions.”
But if there is no vertebra in these animals, they have very flat skulls, which means that they do not have any brain or spinal column, which is also an indication that they are not living.
“Furthermore, there is a very high proportion, up to 80% of animals, of nonhumans in our study, which indicates that there is some living material in the environment that is a mixture of living and nonliving material.”
Prof Jochen Schmidt from the University of California, Berkeley, said the new findings had exciting implications.
He said:”For us, it’s an interesting finding because it shows that nonhuman vertebrates can be studied as well as living vertebrates in the laboratory.”
The question is whether it is possible to make animals that are more like living vertebrate animals, and therefore more interesting to study, in the lab.
“The scientists say that they now plan to look at the genomes of some of these animals and see if they can find similarities to the living creatures that the researchers have studied.