The (Alternate) Origin of Species

Day 2. 16 pages, 7,715 words.

I was amused to see this article going the rounds the other day. The general gist is, humans didn’t evolve on Earth and we basically don’t belong here.

At least it’s handled in a slightly different way than the usual wacky Scientology-y theories about alien seeding and various other stuff. Slightly differently. I mean, it’s still extremely farfetched and silly, and there’s a whole lot of archaeological and fossil evidence that needs to be explained, but the main reason I found it interesting was because it overlaps in a few ways with the stories I have been writing.

Yeah, humans are crazy and we really don’t seem to belong on this planet, or even like it very much. Not since we were hunter-gatherer-sized populations have we lived in anything remotely resembling balance with nature. There’s plenty of romantic (and possibly white-guilt-fuelled?) views of ancient cultures living as one with the land, but that was mostly a function of population and technology. As soon as they had the numbers or the ability to wipe out everything and eat it, they did. Admittedly not as much as migrating cultures did, but the classic “imagine the biological history of the planet is a one-year calendar and look at all the psychotic shit we’ve done in the last five minutes of December 31st” model makes it clear that we’ve been this way on an exponential curve of destruction starting a relatively really short time ago, when we stopped being human-like apes and became ape-like humans.

The idea that bad backs and sunburn are evidence that we are not suited to living on Earth is beyond dubious, since what they’re mostly evidence of is that we’re performing actions our bodies haven’t had time to get used to us performing yet and that we’ve migrated out of the climate regions our skins have become adapted to. But that’s the human condition, isn’t it? We’re in a massive damn hurry, we’re not really sure what we’re in a massive damn hurry for, and if there is such a thing as an instinct that keeps animals in balance with their environment, we lost it millennia ago.

Of course it’s far more likely that this is just the way the random natural selection cookie has crumbled this time. We’ve lucked through the natural-predators phase and reached plague proportions, and will either destroy ourselves or eat everything and starve, as has no doubt happened many times in the course of that proverbial one-year calendar of terrestrial life. Whether we develop far and fast enough to prevent that, I suppose is something our children and grandchildren are going to find out. There’s nothing all that amazing about it, except this time it’s happening to an astonishingly self-centred species that loves to tell stories about itself.

I don’t think we’re the descendants of violent criminals brought here to be away from the civilised galaxy – although it certainly explains what giant shits we are – but in the Book of Pinian urverse humans are a troubled species, and a group[1] of us may have been brought to Earth as refugees to avoid wholesale persecution and outright eradication. So if you want to start with a fun and romantic[2] idea of our origins, and then find evidence to fit that idea … welcome to humanity. Please don’t pretend to be a scientist, but welcome. Have fun with it.

[1] By which I mean a couple of billion of us.

[2] Well, “romantic”.

Yes, there are certainly perfectly rational explanations for our pestilential spread across the Earth. Once our intelligence began to outstrip our instincts, environment and natural predators, it was inevitable that our population would explode uncontrollably and we’d begin to strip whole continents of resources and destroy the existing biospheres. It’s probably just a coincidence that our expansion throughout the world mirrors the spread of introduced species through habitats that have evolved unprepared for them.

I want to leave


But if we are the descendants of a bunch of alien criminals dumped here millennia ago, the space program is an attempted jailbreak of epic proportions and it’s only a matter of time before the searchlights find us.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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