Sci-fi filmmakers have been thrilling us for years with creatures that look like creepy, out-of-this-world aliens. But did you know that many of the aliens we see in movies are actually inspired by creatures right here on earth?

In fact, they’re living among us. Yikes.

In the movie Pacific Rim, film artists borrowed anatomy from reptiles, insects, crustaceans—even humans—for the design of the Kaiju, a fictional race of genetically-engineered beings. Imagine seeing this guy on an ultrasound.


And in Ridley Scott’s classic 1979 sci-fi flick, Alien, the tentacled beast that launches itself onto John Hurt’s face was inspired by a bizarre, spineless animal that lived on the bottom of the sea—over 300 million years ago. That’s right, 300 million years. Talk about some prehistoric wow.


I’ve even run across a few of my own photos that look disturbingly alien. Like this shot. Which looks like a deep-sea eel from deep space. But it’s not. Take a guess at what it is. (I’ll give you a hint: it was in my backyard.)

Birotography Alien

What Is It?


Even a harmless creature, like this giant leopard moth caterpillar, looks like a grade-A alien when viewed through a macro lens.


Same with the robber fly, aptly known as “The Assassin Fly.” These little suckers ambush and feed on other insects mid-flight. Look out!


Even the creatures we eat, like this delicious steamed crab, are screaming, “Use me for sci-fi!” Tell me you haven’t seen this mouth make an appearance on the Syfy channel.


To go with the mouth, a film artist might borrow an eye from this guy. Can you believe this is a toucan?


Or maybe the blockbuster’s badass alien has the slimy, gloppy skin of a jellyfish. (Better watch out for these guys on the beach!)


Of course, all of this begs the question: If aliens were among us…would we even know? Looking at these amazingly-unique anatomies, it seems pretty doubtful.

Have any photos that could stunt double as aliens? Or a photo of an actual alien? <Wink.> We’d love to see ‘em. Let us know in the comments below.