Members of METI (Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) gathered in Paris last week to talk about aliens and what they came up with is quite interesting to say the least. They mentioned that although researchers have been searching the skies for many decades, there is a lack of actual evidence proving that aliens exist.
Since there are billions of stars surrounding us, we’ve never heard any communication from extraterrestrials and this where the Fermi Paradox comes in, which is the contradiction between the lack of evidence that extraterrestrials exist and the high probability that they do in fact exist.
There are many theories as to why we haven’t had any contact with aliens, such as they’re sleeping, or they’re not around anymore. But one theory in particular was discussed in Paris last week by the METI researchers and it’s that maybe we have been quarantined by the extraterrestrials. They suggested that we may be in a type of cage like we’re in some kind of galactic zoo.
Florence Raulin Cerceau, who is the METI director as well as an astrobiologist, explained, “This puzzle of why we haven’t detected extraterrestrial life has been discussed often,” adding, “But in this workshop’s unique focus, many of the talks tackled a controversial explanation first suggested in the 1970s, called the ‘zoo hypothesis’.” METI president Douglas Vakoch weighed in by saying, “Perhaps extraterrestrials are watching humans on Earth, much like we watch animals in a zoo.”
The zoo hypothesis was first presented by MIT researcher John Ball in a 1973 paper. He wrote, “Extraterrestrial intelligent life may be almost ubiquitous,” adding, “The apparent failure of such life to interact with us may be understood in terms of the hypothesis that they have set us aside as part of a wilderness area or zoo.” He later wrote in another research paper, “ETI may be discreetly and inconspicuously watching us but not dabbling.”
In 2016, Josh Hrala told ScienceAlert that while the zoo hypothesis does assume that aliens exist, perhaps the reason why they’re not interacting with us is because they don’t want to have any influence on our society and they just want to keep observing us from far away.
The zoo hypothesis is one of many theories involving alien life, but it’s definitely an interesting hypothesis to consider. “It seems likely that extraterrestrials are imposing a ‘galactic quarantine’ because they realize it would be culturally disruptive for us to learn about them,” stated researcher Jean-Pierre Rospars from the Institut national de la recherche agronomique and who attended the METI workshop.
Whether we’re in some sort of galactic zoo or not, it would still be very exciting and life-changing if we could somehow receive any type of communication from extraterrestrials, or even solid proof that they do in fact exist.
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