science,

Let’s say we open up a completely sealed off underground cave. The organisms inside are completely alien to anything native to earth. How exactly could we tell if these organisms evolved from earth, or from another planet?

Olivia Thompson Olivia Thompson Jun 22, 2017 · 2 mins read
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Exploring the unknown is always thrilling for human beings, and discovering extraterrestrial life forms has been a long-standing dream of scientists and enthusiasts alike. Imagine opening up a completely sealed off underground cave and finding organisms that are completely alien to anything known on Earth. The big question that arises is, how could we tell if these organisms evolved from Earth or came from another planet?

The first and most crucial step in determining the origin of these organisms would be to analyze their DNA. DNA carries genetic information of living organisms, and genetic analysis could provide significant insight into the evolutionary history of these extraterrestrial organisms. Scientists would look for similarities and differences in their DNA when compared to terrestrial organisms. If the genetic information of these organisms shares a significant amount of similarity with that of organisms on Earth, it would suggest that they are likely to have evolved from Earth.

However, if the DNA is vastly different, it would imply that these organisms evolved on a different planet, and we would have discovered extraterrestrial life.

Apart from DNA testing, scientists would also observe the physical characteristics of these organisms. Evolutionary theory proposes that organisms evolve based on the suitability of their environment. Thus, if the environment of the cave is similar to Earth, and the organisms have similar physical structures to terrestrial organisms, it would suggest that these organisms evolved from Earth.

However, if their physical characteristics appear significantly different or peculiar, it would indicate that they evolved under different environmental conditions and possibly from another planet.

Another way to determine the origin of these organisms would be to study their metabolism. If their metabolism closely resembles that of organisms on Earth, it would indicate that they are likely to have evolved from Earth. But if their metabolism differs greatly from known terrestrial organisms, then it could suggest that they have evolved in a different environment.

In summary, scientists would use a combination of genetic, physical, and metabolic analysis to determine the origin of these organisms. If their genetic information, physical structures, and metabolism are found to be significantly different from that of Earth’s organisms, it would indicate that they evolved from another planet. Discovering extraterrestrial life would have a significant impact on our understanding of the universe and the possibility of life beyond Earth. It would also provide critical insight into evolutionary biology and the origins of life.

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Olivia Thompson
Written by Olivia Thompson
Making a difference, one step at a time.