In Brief

Humans ‘probably only intelligent life in the Universe’

Researchers put odds of mankind being alone in Milky Way at up to 99.6%

UFO hunters’ hopes have been dashed by a new study that says humans are highly likely to be the only form of intelligent life in the Universe. 

A team of scientists led by Anders Sandberg, a research fellow at Oxford University, have concluded that there is a 53% to 99.6% probability that humans are alone in our galaxy, the Milky Way, with a 39% to 85% chance that no intelligent life exists outside of the “observable universe”, Metro reports. 

The team reached that somewhat depressing verdict after studying the “Fermi paradox”, which addresses the belief that there is a high probability of intelligent aliens existing in the universe despite a lack of supporting evidence, the newspaper says. 

The study, called Dissolving the Fermi Paradox, does not dismiss the possibility of alien life but rather suggests that other life forms could be “less advanced than on Earth or simply no longer exist”, the Daily Express says.

Speaking to astronomy news website Universe Today, Sandberg said: “One can answer the Fermi Paradox by saying intelligence is very rare, but then it needs to be tremendously rare.

“Another possibility is that intelligence doesn’t last very long, but it is enough that one civilisation survives for it to become visible.”

There is a “fairly high likelihood that we are alone”, Sandberg adds.

Other studies have come up with a variety of theories as to why humans have not been contacted by extraterrestrials.

One theory, known as the zoo hypothesis, states that there is an abundance of life in the universe but that such life forms consider humans to be too “basic and primitive” to merit attention, says US-based magazine The Atlantic

Another suggests that intelligent life “pops into existence for a few thousand years before getting wiped out of existence for mysterious reasons”, the magazine says.

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