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Science of Star Trek: Would ‘Vulcans’ really look like humans?

| | January 5, 2017
Leonard Nimoy
Spock, portrayed by Leonard Nimoy in the original "Star Trek" series and films, was half human and half Vulcan. An evolutionary biologist suggests that such interbreeding could happen only if humans were related to Vulcans by a recent ancestor.
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

After studying scenes from [the Star Trek fictional universe], Mohamed Noor, an evolutionary biologist at Duke University in North Carolina, posited that the galaxy-wide distribution of Earth-based life-forms could help to explain some of the resemblance between Kirk and Spock.

Life on Earth might not have originated on the planet itself. Scientists have long considered the possibility of panspermia, the idea that our planet’s life or its precursors came from outer space. After drifting, unplanned, into the habitable environment, the seed material might have developed into life as we know it today.

But Noor doesn’t buy it…Instead, he proposed that the seeding occurred much more recently than portrayed in the episode “The Chase” (Season 6, Episode 20). If the human ancestor Homo erectus, along with plants and other animals, were taken by the Preservers only a million years ago, rather than the proposed billion, and were seeded onto planets like Vulcan, the resulting life-forms could be more closely related, Noor said.

By comparing DNA samples from other human-like aliens to those of Earthlings, biologists would be able to discover the close genetic relationship between them, which would easily rule out the idea of random, undirected panspermia.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: ‘Star Trek’ Science: Why Vulcans (and Other Aliens) Look Like Humans

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