We’re very concerned about finding alien life on other planets. We think they’ll be intelligent like us, that they’ll use their words like us, that they’ll have a hierarchical political structure like us. "Take me to your leader"—you know, that kind of trope. But that’s preposterous. Gorillas share 98% of the same DNA we do. Yet, all we’ve managed in all of history is sign language with Koko. Hell, even fruit flies share 60% of our DNA. To say we can’t communicate with them is an understatement.

Do you really think it’s likely that DNA, specifically, is the building block of life on some bizarre other planet? And, even if it were, that the species most similar to us on this planet would share much more than 99% of its DNA with us by dumb luck? Or that there is some non-DNA path to achieving what we humans achieved evolutionarily and intellectually? That’s so absurdly unlikely.

If we’re so keen on communicating with aliens, maybe we should try harder to get to know animals on Earth—you know, learn how to communicate with them, empathize with them, advocate for them, rather than desperately search for what would almost certainly be microbial in the highly unlikely event that life remotely resembling ours exists anywhere else in this universe. The aliens we yearn for are hiding in plain sight.