Of all the videos that are claimed to be “evidence” of alien creatures visiting the Earth, none is as as hard to explain, or as downright crawly, as the brief clip of an extraterrestrial known as Skinny Bob.
A clip of the creature, with the bulging skull and huge black eyes that have become standard for images of alien visitors, first emerged in 2011. Posted by an anonymous Reddit user who went by the name Ivan 0135, the video was supposedly recorded by the KGB after a ship from the Zeta Reticuli star system landed in Russia.
“Skinny Bob” was said to be part of a diplomatic mission from a planet some 40 light years away sent to discuss “matters of mutual concern.”
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It’s hard to believe that an alien from such a distant planet would look quite so human – but if “Skinny Bob” is a hoax, the question remains; who are the hoaxers, and what did they stand to gain?
Video effects artist Randy Sharp said that if the clip was fake:“CG technology, at the time of production, would have required a level of expertise of someone …with a high level of experience/knowledge”
No-one has ever tried to make any money from the footage, which some experts estimate would have cost in the region of $250,000 to create.
Movie maker Adam Wells, who directed the short film Shemira, told the Daily Star that he’s seen plenty of crude hoaxes in his time but the Skinny Bob clip “looked had time spent on it”
He added that there was “something about the eyebrow move that looked animatronic”.
UFO expert Nigel Watson told us that Skinny Bob “looks like the sort of alien we might expect to march out of a flying saucer or the type allegedly recovered at Roswell,” or the Mekon from 50s cartoon strip Dan Dare".
There’s also an uncanny resemblance to the drawing an alien abduction victim sent him after a Close Encounter in the 1970s.
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But, he added, for all his alien credentials Bob looks”very humanoid and not as exotic as you might expect for a visitor from a distant star system”.
Charley Henley, a VFX supervisor who worked on Ridley Scott’s Alien series, says there are very good reasons why the aliens of our imaginations look so human: “A lot of the designs are tied in with the human anatomy, and I think that is the common theme. We put a lot of humans into the aliens.”
Palaeontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould says a human-looking alien would be extremely unlikely, and if we “re-ran the tape” of evolution here on Earth, life could end up looking different to how it looks now.
But Sam Levin, a researcher in Oxford’s Department of Zoology, says an alien that looked a bit like us isn’t as unlikely as all that: “: ‘We still can't say whether aliens will walk on two legs or have big green eyes.
"But we believe evolutionary theory offers a unique additional tool for trying to understand what aliens will be like, and we have shown some examples of the kinds of strong predictions we can make with it.
“By predicting that aliens undergone major transitions – which is how complexity has arisen in species on earth, we can say that there is a level of predictability to evolution that would cause them to look like us”.
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