We may be the odd ones out.
Crypto-zoologists may get an unexpected extraterrestrial thumbs up, not to mention those who believe that Nessie, Big Foot and Yeti do inhabit places that defy even the most sophisticated sensors.
Conspiracy theories about the alien remains found at Roswell in the Nevada desert and the strange goings-on in Area 51 may stand vindicated, too.
But if the twilight zone between science and fiction will indeed be illuminated by the discovery of a weird bacteria that lives at the bottom of a lake in California's Yosemite National Park and survives on arsenic, at least our imaginations will be much the poorer for it.
Who wants to think that life on other planets are neither winsome goggle-eyed creatures or salivating long-toothed insect-like monsters but tiny, amorphous invertebrates instead?
That they thrive on a substance poisonous to other living breathing creatures on this planet, including our own species, makes them alien enough to convince the scientists; but they will disappoint the wider public that has been weaned on images of antennaed green entities descending from flying saucers and Captains Kirk and Picard sallying forth to encounter and engage bizarre but comfortingly anthropomorphous beings.
Worse still, kill joy scientists now aver that the arsenicchomping bacterium existed before us on this planet, and may have even been preceded by still other weirder organisms.
That would make us, well, aliens on our own planet, and possibly even the universe.
If all the other estimated one hundred billion trillion planets out there capable of supporting life are also variants of these subaqueous lifeforms, we are not only in a minuscule minority in the universe, we may just be a flash in the cosmic pan.
The consolation is that these creatures will be as confounded by us.
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