The aliens in “Longing for Langalana” find humans to be more attractive than most of their conspecifics. Under what conditions might this be plausible, if any?
In class, we first talked about a picture of an alien and hypothesized that if a species has babies who are not beautiful or don’t look attractive, then their population is more likely to die because the adult in the population may not be attracted or taking care of the babies as needed. Then, we talked about how a beautiful person would probably have good genes but that does not necessarily mean that he/she is a good partner. In other words, they have some of the prerequisites for being good partners but not necessarily all of them. Some people can break this linkage between physical attraction and good genes through plastic surgeries.
Since we consider youth as a sign of fertility, females who retained more youthful characteristics, might look more attractive. For men, having more of an adult characteristic would be attractive to women. I find it very implausible for the aliens in this novel to find humans to be more attractive than most of their conspecifics. One of the conditions that would allow aliens to find humans to be more attractive is if humans look more like young aliens. For example, if their ultimate cause or motivation for attractiveness comes from measuring eye size and our eyes happened to be a lot larger because of some environmental factors or by coincidence. However, if we think of the things that make people attractive like the averageness, it will be very hard for humans to be more average alien looking than any alien. Second, in terms of sexual dimorphic traits, maybe male humans look more male alien than actual male aliens but it would be very hard to come up with a story that would make sense of it. It would be something like if aliens are very asymmetric because of their environment and they are all unhealthy. Humans look exactly the same as aliens except that they are healthy because they are on earth, which is a different environment. Overall, I find it implausible because we have to be very similar to aliens along wide range of dimensions but the aliens in the story seemed very different. For example, they had three fingers, scales, they didn’t have hair and they were pale. Also, they reproduced by tethering or by one absorbing the other one, which is completely different to how humans reproduce.