Letâ€™s talk about aliens. Where the heck are they, huh?
The universe is really, really big. And we know that there are plenty of planets out there â€“ we get better at spotting them every day, having found more than 1,800 as I write this. Weâ€™ve got somewhere up to 400 billion stars just in our galaxy. Surely thereâ€™s life out there, lots of life, and surely some tiny fraction of that life must have evolved big brains and decided to go exploring in giant anti-matter fueled tin cans.
So why havenâ€™t they contacted us? Why arenâ€™t we basking in the soothing transmissions of three-camera sitcoms from Vega Prime and getting regular visits from the Iridian Empire?
I have a theory, and it involves pugs wearing bee costumes.
Hear me out!
What if we have been visited already? I donâ€™t mean covert snatch-and-grab missions to tractor-beam up some yokels. And I certainly donâ€™t believe that beings that can devise methods of crossing light years between the stars are going to show up for the purpose of mutilating cattle, or making corn lie down in pretty patterns.
(Anyway, we already know what makes crop circles. Itâ€™s the lizard people from inside the Hollow Earth.)
But maybe some aliens would send a probe (not that kind, get your mind out of the gutter) to say, sample our airwaves, listen in on the internet and pick up the lingo. Theyâ€™re probably watching edit wars on Wikipedia right now.
Anyway, I figure they want to know a lot of things about us. How we live, how we govern ourselves, how we fight. And most importantly, how we treat competing species.
In all of our history, going back to the days when we were man-apes banging rocks together and cowering in fear of thunderstorms, our biggest direct competition on this planet came from large wild canines. African painted dogs and wolves fill a very similar environmental niche to early humans.
Unlike big cats and bears, canines run their prey down, exhausting them before moving in for the kill. That was one of the earliest human hunting techniques â€“ some hunter-gatherer people in remote parts of the world still use it to this day. Humans and dogs are among the only meat-eating animals that can actually run long distances â€“ and we have the stamina to wear down almost anything. Between a human marathoner and a thoroughbred horse, the human will always win when you crank up the distance.
Wolves also work in packs. They can cooperate, like human hunters.
So we ate the same food, and we used the same tactics, and we moved in sizeable groups.
Did we wipe out wolves down to the last pup?
No. We did something much more disturbing. We befriended them. We loved them. We made them smaller, and more like puppies. We made them love us back.
Imagine the horror when the aliens realized what weâ€™d done, as they noticed that the DNA of a proud Arctic predator and a bow-wearing Yorkie in a purse are substantially the same?
â€œBy the stars, Zorg, we canâ€™t land on Earth!â€ their chief researcher shouted. â€œIf they ever gained the upper hand on us for a second, imagine what theyâ€™d do to us! Do you want to be dressed up as a sunflower and paraded around on a leash? Do you want your great-grandspawn to have hip dysplasia and no noses?â€
So give your pug an extra tummy rub today. Heâ€™s saving us from alien invasion.