Nautilus

How ET Will Force Darwin’s Theory to Adapt

When H.G. Wells wrote about aliens, his wild imaginings were shaped by Darwin’s theory of evolution. In The War of the Worlds, giant Martian invaders with whip-like arms are threatened by extinction and so expand into a new ecological niche by colonizing other planets, notably Earth. In The Time Machine, a time traveler visiting the future stumbles upon two posthuman species. What led Wells to these majestic speculations, inspiring science-fiction buffs and also many scientists to this day? A firm belief in the universality of evolution by natural selection.

But does evolution operate

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