Jun 17, 2018 I Paul Seaburn

The Perfect Human Body May Look Like an Extraterrestrial

The arguments over what the perfect human body should look like have probably been going on since Adam and Eve noticed they were naked (for creationists) or since the first human ancestor realized that monster in the lake was actually a reflection (for evolutionists). Regardless of your belief, you most likely would describe the perfect human body as one that looks close to yours – minus a few pounds and plus a few muscles … unless you’re an anatomist, osteoarchaeologist, physical anthropologist and palaeopathologist who is obviously not happy with her swimsuit shape. That person thinks the ideal human body looks like an extraterrestrial … complete with pointed ears, emu legs and a baby’s head emerging from her navel. Really!

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We're not supposed to look like this?

Alice Roberts is, in addition to all of those other jobs, a professor of public engagement in science at the University of Birmingham and the star of a recent BBC4 documentary called Can Science Make Me Perfect? If “perfect” is the star of a sci-fi movie, then Roberts accomplished her goal. She put together a team that included virtual sculptor Scott Eaton and SFX model maker Sangeet Prabhaker and generously donated her already fine body as the model to be made perfect.

Roberts and her team obviously took into account many of the imperfections all human bodies share – a spine designed for moving on four limbs, not two; a pelvis no longer wide enough for easy childbirth; feet with far too many bones for easy walking; skin that’s not made for all seasons; eyes and ear that don’t last until the warranty runs out on the rest of the body; and so on. The team looked at ways to improve on these problems by observing animals who are perfect in each of those areas and built a Roberts 2.0 with those features.

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Close, but not the winner

Roberts didn’t see her new “perfect” self until it was unveiled at the London Science Museum for the show and, while said that “I screamed when I saw the final 3D model of my creation," she tried her best to put a positive spin on a face that looked a little like hers on top of a body that would have caused even Darwin to say, “Whoa!”

"Inspired by dogs, cats, cephalopods, fish, swans and chimps, my model has a better heart with more arteries than a human being, lungs that are more efficient, eyes with no blindspots, ears that pick up sound better, legs that are more efficient, and reptilian skin which reacts fast to block damaging ultraviolet rays."

(Front and back pictures here. Closeup next to the real Alice here.)

The pointy ears came from a bat and the giant three-toed emu legs are built for speed, not looks, but the thing that drags one’s eyes away from any sexy parts that were left (there weren’t) is the kangaroo pouch in her belly with a baby’s head poking out. Again, her public engagement side kicked in and Roberts tried to make it sound like a benefit.

"On reflection, I don't like the look of the bird-like legs. But having given birth to two children, I'm a big fan of having the kangaroo's pouch."

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Works for me

On reflection, it's a pretty scary reflection. Is this the way humans should look? Will we eventually evolve to this form … or are plastic surgeons and tattoo artists already transforming people (with a lot of money to spend) into it?

Sorry, Alice. Put that photo on a dating site and the only guys who will respond are Ridley Scott and James Cameron.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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