Have you heard of speculative biology?
Not only scientists but also artists and movie makers deal with these kinds of questions.
If you answered “no”, you are wrong. Speculative biology deals with fictional animals and plants that could have existed under different living conditions. How might our life look like on different planets? Where might our planet’s evolution lead to?
On internet forums and all kinds of art platforms, there is an active international community of speculative biologists that exchange views about alternative evolution paths on earth or the life on extraterrestrial planets.
If we could turn back time, we would find fantastic life forms on our own planet. 500 million years ago, the fauna on earth would certainly be at least as alien to us as life on another planet.
Not only scientists but also artists, authors and movie makers deal with this group of themes. It’s not uncommon to see such creatures in science fiction or fantasy movies. Harry Potter, Star Wars or the recently released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are only a few examples.
David Yates’ movie based on J.K. Rowling’s book is almost exclusively about such beasts.
Even though all of the portrayed types of animals are profoundly different, they share some characteristics in their anatomical portrayal, connecting them with the human race. Heads, eyes, legs and arms, motions such as running and abilities such as speaking connect us, the viewers, with these beings.
The movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” portrays many different beasts: snakes that grow depending on the size of the room; rays that have left the sea and started flying, and huge birds with gold feathers. Even though the animals can still be classified into familiar classes such as fishes, mammals, reptiles and so on, they are significantly distinct from their origins. However, most of them are still in a way comparable to the types we are familiar with.
Maybe, this projection will vanish into thin air when mankind will able to visit the seven new planets that are only 39 light years away.
Until then, we have to be patient!
Wilgen and your alugha team.