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I want to write a science-based story which includes grey aliens.

To clarify, grey aliens are seen to be either shorter or taller than the average humans, and sport a bulbous like head. their head has two big black eyes and have two smaller holes that are the nostrils. Lastly, the body of the aliens seem to be fairly slender, and has the common color of grey

what environmental requirements would be needed to lead to the rise of grey aliens?

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    $\begingroup$ Are you seriously asking what evolutionary path would produce animals with grey integument (skin / fur / scales / feathers) in an unspecified world? And anyway, here on Earth we have plenty of grey animals: grey parrots, grey wolves, grey langurs, grey cattle, grey cats etc. Pick one or more and research their evolutionary history. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Feb 8 at 20:48
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    $\begingroup$ I’d suggest that you should at least add some description to the grey aliens, and make the two questions you asked and form them into a one sentenced question $\endgroup$ – RotNDecay Feb 8 at 20:51
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Yes it is possible there are Grey Aliens, but the funny thing is that chance of it being like humans but grey is quite narrow to be almost impossible

We don't know what life would really be like on other worlds as we have not detected any, so using Earth as an example is the only basis we have to formulate evolutionary theories.

Life on Earth could go in any number of directions, and has been evolving since aBiogenesis about 4 billion years ago.

In this enormous time there were billions upon billions of generations, mutating every step of the way, to create the very complex genome humans have today.

At any point in time though, it is worth remembering that a mutation could have evolved in a different way, with equal amounts of success and spawning a completely different evolutionary pathway.

There is a reason why all animals we see have 2 eyes, four limbs, and a spine. This was determined many millions of years ago right back to a series of mutations that (essentially quite randomly) created these features. All animal life since then would then have these traits. That's why we don't see horses with two heads, or rats with three eyes, or cats with only one nostril.

These traits evolved very recently in the history of life, within the range of 400 million years past (within a 4 billion year history) being just the last 7% of the history of life.

So for your aliens to be like us, but just grey, then billions upon billions of mutations must have turned out to be even a little like us except for being grey. Highly unlikely (dare I say, almost impossible). So in order to answer your second question, the environmental requirements that would lead to grey aliens that have a head, 2 eyes, 2 nostrils, would need to be almost precisely Earth (except the minor condition where a grey skin is more advantageous, perhaps they live in underground areas where skin pigmentation is not necessary, or simply grey skin is more sexually attractive).

The truth is we don't know, but all I can say is the chance of meeting an animal with bilateral symmetry, four limbs, two eyes, two nostrils and even an animal with skin, or an animal of similar size to us, would be quite a revelation in itself.

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The Greys are based on late 19th / early 20th century predictions of what humans will look like in the distant future. The only weird bit is the color. As it turns out, there is a way to get a greyish tinge to one's skin: Argyria, what happens when one consumes a great deal of silver over time. The silver settles in the argyrian's skin, where it tarnishes. The precise color that results depends on things like the original skin color, the concentration of silver, exposure to other substances, etc (I'm not sure if sun exposure matters, but I assume it would have some effect).

Why would aliens who are otherwise indistinguishable from far-future humans consume so much silver as to turn grey? People today drink colloidal silver for its antibacterial properties, and probably some other reasons. Silver has culturally been associated with purity, toxicity to monsters, etc. And it is rare, if less so than gold. Any combination of these with culture, abundances of substances in the Greys' habitats, or even just some kinda space disease that only silver can cure being common among the Greys who show up, could all play into the explanation.

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Concerning the grey-ness I'd say that this might an adaptive colour which makes them less identfiable by predators, i.e. it is more about camouflage.

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They are grey because they travel in an ship full of embryonic fluids that maintain and vitalize them during travel. Because they spend so much time in the fluid, emerging into an oxygen/air atmosphere it takes time for them to re-pink.

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essentially the same as us. They would fill the same niche as ours, and would have similar adaptations. Having a bulbous head could evolve from spending a lot of effort doing advanced thought, which requires a larger or better brain. The grayness could stem from camouflage coloring, or sexual selection, although it is most likely that they could just be that color. Humans have multiple skin colors, and it seems fairly obvious that there is no real advantage to any skin color in humans and other humanoids. Nose holes could just be a leftover trait from their ape analogues, or they could be better placed for smellings. in any case, like skin color, nose placement does not really have a major influence on humanoids, since we do not use it that much. large black eyes could be an adaptation for darker conditions, or could evolve with the brain or something. large investment into eyes is not to outlandish for a humanoid since we are primary visual hunters. A slender body could be explained away, maybe if they are at our level or later everyone could be trying to get a skinny bod.

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