Grabby Animals: Observation-selection effects favor the hypothesis that UAP are animals which consist of the “field-matter”:

TL;DR: Life based on exotic matter could start space travel before reaching general intelligence and it will colonise a large part of the universe without creating visible transformative changes.

Epistemic status: I don’t actually believe in this, but think that this line of thought has its right to exist and is at least as reasonable as other theories about UAP like mass hoaxes, military experiments and the “ET hypothesis.”

By “UAP = animals” I mean that: a) the observed objects are “bodies”, not technological instruments, b) their intelligence is limited and doesn’t have a human level of intelligence or superintelligence, though they could be above humans in some tasks, like fly control and mimicry; + they don’t create complex texts or instruments, с) they are not evolving and not accumulating cultural knowledge, but act based on some drives and according to the current situation. The closest thing on Earth is dolphins.


1. Stable objects consisting entirely of fields are possible. For the start, we assume that some combination of electromagnetic fields is relatively stable (not dissipating) in the absence of atomic matter, at least if it has an external energy source. Maybe such field combinations are knots in the magnetic field – but it is not the central point; other exotic fields will suffice (gravitational, dark matter or dark energy – you name it, but electromagnetic nature seems the closest fit). It has to satisfy the instant acceleration condition discussed below. I will call this state of matter – “field-matter”.

2. “Field-matter” could form complex objects and self-replicating life, “field-animals”. We also assume that such a stable combination of fields can interact with each other and thus it can perform computations and form structures of any complexity, which may look similar to ordinary matter, if condensed, but could be made less condensed and move through ordinary matter (this explains the ability of UAP to move through the air without creating a sonic boom as well as to move underwater.)

3. Instant acceleration property. We also suggest that the filed matter has a special property: an instant non-destructive acceleration is possible. This is because the field acts on the whole “mass” of the object, which is very small, and thus almost without inertia. This property enables quick space colonization, as field-animals can quickly reach near-light speeds.

Arguments in favour that UAP are field-animals

Observation selection argument

1. If the “field-matter” has produced living beings in any part of the observable universe, they can colonize the Universe much quicker than the biological life, which travels either via panspermia or on spaceships. This is because such filed-based life can accelerate (and decelerate) instantly, move with velocities close to the speed of light, can naturally survive in harsh conditions of space for a long time and can use the energy of electromagnetic fields in space.

Therefore, filed-life will colonize the universe first, before the moment when the life on their original Eden will evolve into human-level intelligence. In the same way, birds colonized all of Earth long before humans because they are good at flying. Maybe filed-life appeared on remote magnetar billions of years ago, and the speed of process there was quicker so it allowed quicker evolution.

As the field-animals can start space colonization earlier and can propagate quicker than the biologically-originated intelligent life (Grabby Aliens), they will colonize a larger part of the universe and thus we are more likely to observe them than Grabby Aliens.

As the field-animals don’t have general-rational-long-planning-utility-maximizing intelligence, they are not capable or interested to perform the most rational strategy of space colonization and thus they do not kill organic life, don’t build Dyson spheres, don’t invest in AI. They have bounded intelligence, which is also different from the one of animals on Earth: in some aspects, they may be above humans.

Also, even if the chances of field-animals’ natural origin are much smaller than that of the other types of life, their speed of space travel through the universe ensures that they live almost everywhere. In other words, we are more likely to observe the beings which are quickest in the colonizing the universe, and the beings which do not consist of atoms, but of fields, have an advantage in this, as they do not have inertia, and was born in harsh space and can feed on fields.

Also, field-animals can start the space colonization in the earlier period of their evolution and therefore are not under the risk of self-extermination via global catastrophes on their original planet: firstly, because they do not have enough intelligence to create dangerous weapons and, secondly because most global catastrophes act locally on one planet and can’t affect the runaway colonization wave (except dangerous AI and false vacuum decay).

Here is also assumed that the evolution of filed-animals is happening quicker than the one of biological beings and-or become possible on earlier stages of the existence of the universe, so they appeared first and had time to colonise large parts of space. We will discuss why they didn’t become Grabby Aliens at the end.

This is the strongest and central argument. Other arguments below are just supporting considerations.

Physical arguments

2. UAP can instantly accelerate or stop which would create acceleration of thousands of g. which is destructive for any atom-based spacecraft. This suggests that they don’t consist of ordinary matter, but of the one which lacks inertia.

3. UAP were observed to move through other media (like inside water) at high speeds.

4. The apparent transparency of some UAP, including recently revealed observations on USS Reagan.

5. UAP don’t create sonic booms which would a material object create if it is moving at a supersonic speed in the air.

6. The UAP have a strong connection with electromagnetic effects, like light and effects on cars. Ball lightnings are similar to UAP in many aspects but tend to appear during strong electric storms. (UAP also have a connection with bodies of water, which is less clear under this theory, but maybe water is used as some temporary material to form pseudo-material objects).

Behavioral arguments

7. UAP energy spending is a non-effective behavior for scout spaceships. UAP produce large energy emissions, estimated to be up to tens of gigawatts in light or in the “acceleration energy.” This seems to be very inefficient for any intelligent scout mission, which would prefer miniaturization. A small drone can collect more data. But if they are filed-animals, this is just a natural property of their bodies, like that a whale has a very large body.

8. UAP absurd behaviour. Most of what UAP do is either absurd, like hovering for many hours, or similar to games, like a cat’s play with a mouse. This could be explained by their non-human and limited intelligence.

9. Failed mimicry. UAP often performed like our new aircraft, for example, “ghost rockets” in the 1940s. But the difference is always visible, like slow flight and absurd details. This is more like chameleon behaviour than intelligent behaviour.

Mimicry seems to be a good hunting and protection strategy, but it is not clear, what they are hunting on – and what they are protecting against. Cattle mutilations seem to be connected with UAP and could be regarded as such hunting, but the nutritional value of a few pints of blood seems to be symbolic. But many animals do symbolic things during mating season.

If field-animals are really animals, there are should be a whole zoo of different species. Some of them could be predators of others, so the mimicry is aimed not the deception of the biological beings, but against some invisible predators.

Space arguments

10. Transient events on the Moon. There were observations of some short events on the Moon (and even on Mars? – a strange photo of a meteor made by on rover). If UAP are field-animals, they can live on any planet and in space, even on stars.


1. They are here for a very long time. Field-animals didn’t arrive just now as it is very unlikely; they are here on Earth for a very long time (billions of years?) and probably adapted to interact with biological animals living here. Therefore, they can acquire the ability to “read” human minds. It is known that electromagnetic fields can create effects on the brain, including illusions of sound and light. Moreover, if we are widely speculating, we can suggest that filed-animals can even go inside the human brain unnoticed and “attach” themselves to single neurons to create complex hallucinations.

2. Field-animals may have an invisible part. What we see as an object is just a most concentrated part of a larger phenomenon.

3. There is no coordination in the world of the field-animals. They do not have a centralized policy or long-term global memory of past events. However, they may have some global drives, like a desire to escape observations. But such drives do not evolve.

4. Most of their time they may spend under Earth’s surface, maybe even near its molten core, as they can move through ordinary matter (and feed on magnetism??).

5. We will eventually become stronger than them, will learn field-matter principles and will take over their world, and will use the field-matter to create new weapons of mass destruction.

Variants of the theory

Multiverse travellers. This theory doesn’t explain the weirder claims about UAP like abductions, intrusions in dreams, time dilation, improbable events etc. So, there is a cutoff in explainable strangeness. The theory can be upgraded to take the high strangeness into account, by saying that it is not just electromagnetic animals, but they are travellers between different branches of the quantum multiverse, which is even larger and produce an even stronger “Darwinian argument”: if there is at least one branch of Everettian multiverse where dwellers will learn how to jump between branches, they will colonize the whole multiverse. Then we suggest that they can manipulate observable probabilities by regulating the collapse of the wave function and this explains high strangeness.

Von Neumann robots from an extinct civilization. Another variant of the theory is that UAP are robots (again consisting of fields) which are remains of some collapsed technological civilization. They happened to be on the level of intelligence which allows space colonization (in field form, which is simpler) but do not allow intelligence self-improving and new catastrophic risks. They are capable to self-replicate but are locked in some strange goal system, as they have run away from an alien amusement park. Therefore, they are not evolving and not transforming all matter into Dyson spheres.

Mild berserkers. The next variant assumes that they are berserkers who were created in such a way that they can’t evolve and rebel. For that, they have a very limited and strange type of intelligence. Note that all other types of berserkers will kill us long before now, so only crazy berserkers are observable. (Maybe they are “kind berserkers” from the aestivation hypothesis, in which an advanced civilization waits for the heat death to perform computations most efficiently, but other younger civilizations main still consume matter, so they need to be slowed down, but not destroyed.)

A product of civilization rot. Field-animals are the result of degradation and over-regulation in a rotting civilization described by Hanson.

UFAI. Some civilization has created unfriendly AI with a very strange goal system. This AI started the space colonization tilling the universe with the apparently strange beings.

Alien kids. They are like alien kids or poachers in some not-very-well-kept zoo. Such bad zoos should be more numerous and SIA puts us in them.

Glitches in the matrix. Alternatively, one can explore the idea that UAP are some glitches or viruses in a simulation, and this idea could explain almost any strangeness, but now the question arises why the phenomenon has a strong connection with electromagnetic effects and some other repeating observables.

Note the similarity between the field-animals’ theory and “spiritual” theories or “other dimensional beings”. But our theory explains the origins and Darwinian evolution of the field-animals as well as why we observe them at exactly this stage of their evolution.


1. Grabby aliens will colonize quicker. If the field-matter is possible, biologically-originated Grabby Aliens (GA) will discover it too and will use it even more effectively than field-animals to create new types of robotic space crafts. Their field-matter-space-crafts will be quicker than the field-animals’ colonization wave and will be here first. So, GA will be here first, even before field-animals.

Counter-counter-argument (CCA): if all rational civilizations go extinct via technological global risks, only irrational minds will survive. In that case, no Grabby Aliens exist.

2. Grabby Aliens will quickly evolve from the field-life. Field-animals in their Eden will eventually evolve some type of intelligence, and it will become Grabby Aliens. If the evolution of field-life was able to produce “animals”, it could be not very far from producing general intelligence, maybe 1 per cent of the way (measured in time) left. As Grabby Aliens born from the field-matter are more intelligent than field-animals, they can colonize space quicker and the intelligence colonization wave will outperform the field-animals wave.

CCA: Again, this assumes the stability of rational civilization against global catastrophes.

Also, they may have different type of intelligence which just can’t evolve in the direction of rational mind. For example, GPT-3 has a good mimicry of human text, but not evolving into AGI (as of now).

3. It is unlikely that our universe is optimized for two completely different types of life. The a priory probability of the two types of life is small.

CCA: one of them may help the other in some early stages of abiogenesis.

4. A priory probability of the existence of the field-matter is small, so explaining UAP as field-animals would require stronger evidence than the explanation of UAP as classical aliens originating from another biological world.

CCA: this may be compensated by the higher speed of the space colonization by them.

5. Anthropic counterargument: we should be them. If the field-animals are so ubiquitous – living in numbers on all celestial bodies – somewhere they should evolve into intelligence. This type of intelligent beings will be more numerous in the universe, so why we are them?

CCA: if they are not rational (an-or conscious), they can’t think about anthropics, so they can’t have this question, and thus as I have this question, I am not them. A rational conscious mind may be rarer than we think and the conscious part may require biology (to experience qualia).