Aliens ‘would study ants before us’ as ‘we’re not that interesting’, says expert

If aliens visited Earth they would "try to talk to the ants" before humans because we're not that interesting, an expert has said.

American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson made the claim during a recent appearance on Popular Mechanics' Explains the Universe.

Discussing what animal any visiting extraterrestrials would want to study first, Tyson argued that – although we may think it does – the world does not revolve around mankind.

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"I talk about the hoops we jump through to try and distinguish ourselves in the tree of life," he said.

"We have an Olympics and we watch our greatest athletes jump faster, higher, stronger.

"If you open the Olympics to all animal species, we wouldn't win a thing. We don't jump the highest, we don't run the fastest."

Tyson then addressed the argument that we are the smartest animals with huge brains, so therefore must be the most important.

He said: "Well it's not the biggest brain – there's three brains in the world bigger than ours. The whale, the elephant and the dolphin."

The next argument one may put forward is our brain-to-body-weight ratio compared to the rest of the animal kingdom. Sadly, if that's what the aliens do base their studies upon, we wouldn't make the cut.

Tyson said that, although we are "at the top" of that list for mammals, it's "not by much" as mice come very close.

"That's a little uncomfortable, you don't want mice to be as smart as we are," he said.

As for non-mammals, he pointed out that mid-sized birds have a higher brain-to-body-weight ratio than humans.

Tyson continued: "The animal that has the biggest brain-to-body-weight ratio is neither avian or mammal, it's some species of ant.

"There are some species of ant where their brains are 15% of their body weight. For us it's like 2.5%.

"So I hypothesise, if aliens really care about brains, they would first try to talk to the ants. Then the whales, elephants, dolphins, then perhaps the mice, and then maybe humans."

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