This 2013 Daily Mail article quotes the claims of the book Humans are not from Earth: a scientific evaluation of the evidence by Dr Ellis Silver.

A U.S. ecologist has claimed that humans are not from Earth but were put on the planet by aliens tens of thousands of years ago.

Dr Ellis Silver points to a number of physiological features to make his case for why humans did not evolve alongside other life on Earth, in his new book.

They range from humans suffering from bad backs - which he suggests is because we evolved in a world with lower gravity – to getting too easily sunburned and having difficulty giving birth.

Is it true that humans were placed on Earth by aliens?

  • 1
    I have deleted a lot of comments that are trying to debate what the answer should be rather than fix the question.
    – Oddthinking
    Jun 2, 2017 at 20:58
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    Dear potential answerers: Please remember this is not a discussion forum. It is not enough to have a personal opinion about how evolution works. References are required.
    – Oddthinking
    Jun 3, 2017 at 6:29
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    Shooting down the claims in here are probably more suited to a biology-based sub. If the strongest claims are 'sunburns', 'bad backs', and 'illness because 25 hour day', I'm sure someone in another sub would be better for this.
    – DenisS
    Jun 9, 2017 at 14:48

1 Answer 1


Ellis Silver takes a number of features of human physiology, claims they are inexplicable by evolution, and comes to the extreme conclusion that aliens placed humans on Earth.

However, each of the features are actually prosaically explained by evolution.

For example:

  • Bad backs - The Daily Telegraph (A terrible source, I admit, but I only have to do better than the Daily Mail!)

    Similarly, when our ancestors began walking on two feet six or seven million years ago, they prompted skeletal changes which today result in bad backs. Our spines were originally arch-shaped, but standing upright turned the backbone into a weight-bearing pillar, causing the development of the "S" shaped curves which help us balance and walk but also cause lower back pain.

  • Sunburn - Reddit - ELI5 (Another terrible source, but I am trying to target readers who have very little understanding of evolution, or they would have already worked this out):

    This is why people in different regions evolved different skin tones. In Africa and Australia, there is harsh and direct sunlight a majority of the time. People there have very black skin, full of a pigment that blocks out the sun. They don't sunburn, but they find it hard to synthesise Vitamin D... which is okay, because there's so much sunlight shining on them so often that they'll synthesise it anyway, even with reduced efficiency.

    The people that migrated far north, to Russia, to Scandinavia, to the United Kingdom and so on, quickly adapted to having very light skin, because their situation was the opposite. There was very little harsh and direct sunlight where they lived, so they shed the black pigment, making them more prone to sunburn (which isn't a concern in Oslo) but more efficient at synthesising Vitamin D (which they needed).

    This reveals how deeply racist the claim that "humans" are susceptible to sun-burn is.

In 2015, evolutionary biologist and noted skeptic Dr PZ Myers reviewed the claims in the book:

It’s drivel.

You are not surprised, I can tell. It’s full of really bad arguments: we are not native to earth because we get sunburns and bad backs, for instance. But essentially every creature on the planet avoids excessive exposure to solar radiation, except the ones that live in caves or the deep sea, and lots of creatures exhibit aging-related disorders — dinosaurs included. Are we to conclude, then, that every species on the planet, from flatworm to elephant, was brought here by aliens?

He goes into further details, pointing out the basic errors in genetics.

I’ve known a few geneticists in my time, and I don’t know of any who wouldn’t double over in laughter at that hypothesis.


Ellis Silver has published a vanity book in which he makes some out-of-this-world claims, which are not supported by evidence. Certainly not enough evidence to discard our existing well-established understanding of human evolution.

  • "This reveals how deeply racist the claim that 'humans' are susceptible to sun-burn is" - the first thing that struck me about those claims.... what, only Northern Europeans count as humans? Jun 6, 2017 at 14:18
  • Reddit indeed is a terrible source – so terrible that what you quote is actually wrong: even people with very dark skin can and do get sunburns if UVR exposure is too high (see, for instance, the table in cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6118a1.htm). This is so because melanin, the pigment that mostly determines the skin color, absorbs only a portion of UV radiation (see, for instance, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2007.00226.x/…). Humans are susceptible to sunburn. As a broad claim, there's nothing racist about this.
    – Schmuddi
    Jun 9, 2017 at 12:25

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