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They are often portrayed on screen as little green men with elongated limbs and saucer-like eyes.

From E.T to the X-Files, aliens from outer space have captured our imagination for decades.

Yet a new book from a leading evolutionary biologist argues that if they exist and we ever encountered them, they would look very similar to us.

Professor Simon Conway Morris said extra-terrestrials that resemble human beings should have evolved on at least some of the many Earth-like planets that have been discovered by astronomers.

In his new book published on 2 July, The Runes of Evolution, the University of Cambridge academic builds on the principle of convergent evolution – that different species will independently evolve similar features, with the comparison of the camera eye of an octopus and a human eye a favourite example – and argues it will not just took place on Earth.

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