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Tall Trivia

I was reading in “Book Briefs” in “Quote Magazine” that Indiana University’s Novel Prize-winning geneticist, Herman J. Muller, has listed for “Popular Science” some speculations about beings on other planets. They will, he says, be animal-like rather than plant-like, and more likely to live on land than in the water. There will probably be two sexes, and they will have two or more limbs for handling tools.

They may take some of these forms:
(1) An upright animal resting on a tripod base of two legs and a tail, with two forelimbs developed into arms, rather like a kangaroo.
(2) A four or six-legged animal with tentacles like an elephant’s trunk; (3) A six-legged animal whose two front limbs have evolved into arms, like the centaurs of Greek mythology.

There is a chance that on every few planets, there may be creatures with two legs, two arms, and a head.

These creatures would look like men from a few hundred feet away. But expecting creatures that would look human close up, is “about as ridiculous as to imagine they speak English,” says Dr. Muller.

Well, there you have it – a preview of what beings on other planets will look like when we get there.

It’s interesting to speculate on such things. Naturally, the condition, terrain, food, atmosphere, etc. of the planet would determine in large part what its creatures would look like. You can imagine how terrified they might be to see a strange-looking Earthman emerging from the hatch of a spaceship, especially if they are getting around on six legs that look like elephant trunks. The Earthman would look just as strange and terrifying to them as they would appear to our astronaut.

Then would begin the difficult job of communicating with them. While we speak with a voice, who knows how they would communicate? They might communicate by striking each other significant blows on the head or thorax. This would get things off to a pretty sticky beginning. Can you see the picture? Our Earthman saying: “Me, Jim. You…? And just about then – wham!

You probably think this is silly. But if a geneticist can guess what the creatures on other planets will look like, I can speculate on their possible means of communication. That’s my business.

Of course, our professor is overlooking the fact that there are possibly other planets with our identical atmosphere with creatures exactly like us.

Different language, indeed, but with blondes, brunettes and redheads, or even strange new shades of color. Then the Earthman actually could meet one, and they could start with the old familiar, “Me, Jim… you…?” And so on! And since Americans tend to move to their significant others’ home towns to work and live, this could ease the population problem here on earth. At any rate, we know there must be life on other worlds, and won’t it be interesting when we begin to find out what it’s like?

We had better be preparing ourselves for the shock of seeing strange creatures brought back from outer space and coming to the White House. It could happen sooner than we think.

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