I’ve been watching my way through the History Channel series Ancient Aliens (which I didn’t realize had become a series, instead finding myself wondering why the special was on again and again) and I keep thinking to myself what I always think when we depict aliens in media: why would they look anything like us?!
Luckily, io9 steps up to the plate with an essay entitled “We’ll Only Find Extraterrestrial Life If We Know What We’re Looking For” that points out just how limiting it is to think that any sort of non-Earth entity would share much in common with life as we know it at all. We really need to stop depicting aliens exclusively as greys, bugs or slightly altered people (Star Trek, I’m looking at you.) Quoth the post:
This would be especially true of lifeforms that aren’t based on carbon or don’t use water as solvent, whose biochemistry would be nothing like ours. For these, we would have to fall back to the highest-order definition of life: an open system with negative entropy, emergent properties and ability to adapt and evolve, with an inner code which ensures that there will be strong continuity of form and function as the organism reproduces.
Check it out if your inner science fiction geek gets belligerent about this topic, too.