Inherent repeatable benefits of extraterrestrials

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Inherent repeatable benefits of extraterrestrials

Lately I've been thinking about advanced life outside Earth from an evolutionary view. I've specifically been wondering what evolutionary traits are universally beneficial. If we were to find advanced life elsewhere, would they be anything like any life here? Is there an inherent advantage of, say, being either bipedal or quadrupedal? What about tails? Teeth? An organ for "higher functions" like the brain?

Obviously environment plays a staggeringly huge factor, and I wouldn't expect anything like the stereotypical little green men. I'm just wondering what traits are universal. What would be so useful as to make advanced life share it everywhere?

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Personally, I find that the

Personally, I find that the best way to find out about extraterrestrials is to study convergent evolution. How many times has a brain evolved separately on earth? is an example of the kind of question you should ask. I know that someone here (I think) posted about a plant that had some sort of brain-like structure.


Is there an advantage to being bipedal? or quadrupedal? maybe, but what about the Octopus?

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arthur c. clarke's space

arthur c. clarke's space odyssey series offers interesting insights into this topic.  the idea of "similar problems, similar solutions" is really fascinating.  i love the part in 2061 when they crash-land on the newly thawed europa (if you're wondering how europa was thawed, just read the books; i won't give anything away) and they see an organism rise out of the ocean that looks almost exactly like one of our sharks. 

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I'm probably old-fashioned,

I'm probably old-fashioned, but it seems to me that intelligent life should be humanoid.  An intelligent life needs to communicate vocally. Vocal cords need upright stature, to be able of speech. Using tools also develops intelligence, so there should be hands, specialized for using tools. And as we know, pretty much everything on our planet evolved symetrically, with even number of limbs and legs.
The intelligent life won't be aquatic, because water depths are not much friendly for discovering the fire.
Most complex life forms here developed central nervous system, and have all senses concentrated on head. Only big dinosaurs were a partial exception. Yeah, pretty much, convergent evolution is the answer.

We shouldn't be surprised, if they land and get lost in the crowd.

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I would think that at a

I would think that at a certain point technology kicks in for evolution.  Basically my thoughts are that once sentience progresses to a certain point, the technological advancement will outpace evolution.  Consequently, the species will be more defined by its technology than its biology.  I think we're entering that phase now.  For example, with medicine we combat illness and disease instead of waiting for our bodies to overcome it.  Things like biomedical engineering, neuroscience, nanotechnology and other fields are beginning to tap into the body, and I think they will eventually begin to alter and re-define it.  


So I would think that at some point it wouldn't matter whether you were bipedal or quadrupedal; it'll be your technology that matters.

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The only thing that I can

The only thing that I can think of that would be "required" for any kind of ET that would be visiting us is a highly social life. It seems that if we lived solitary lives then there would be no way to transmit new learnings. Maybe from parents to children it could be transmitted down direct family lines but just think about it, how else could we obtain new and unique ideas? or obtain rare resources with specific uses.

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I would say it depends

I would say it depends mostly on the environment you live in. However it would be universally beneficial to have a central processing unit (a brain in humans), and also to have multiple smaller living things to make up one larger living thing (cells), this is useful for reproduction and healing. Imagine an amoeba as large as a human being, this would not be very productive.

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