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If the origin of life is common on other worlds, the universe should be a cosmic zoo full of complex multicellular organisms.

Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University astrobiologist, uses the evolution of Earth life as a model to predict what humans might find living on distant planets and moons in a new paper published in the journal Life.

The results of his work, conducted in collaboration with William Bains, a biochemist working for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, show that once life originates, the evolution of organisms functionally similar to plants or animals on Earth will naturally follow given enough time and a suitable environment.

"If the origin of life can occur rather easily, a percentage of organisms on other worlds will reach higher levels of animal- or plant-like complexity," Schulze-Makuch said. "On the other hand, if the origin of life is a rare event, then chances are we live in a rather empty universe."

Gee, what a brilliantly obvious deduction. To read more, click here.