Could it be that our planet isn't typical at all? If so, then maybe life isn't typical either. On the other hand, if there are plenty of planets similar to Earth, we can reasonably hope for lots of cosmic company.
Despite any inclination to believe yourself among the brightest bulbs around, new research indicates that even when the universe was considerably younger, there were heavy elements enough to spawn planets that could... spawn life.
It's raining planets. Members of the science team for NASA's Kepler telescope announced the tentative discovery of more than 1,200 worlds orbiting distant stars. Of these, approximately four dozen are candidates for being Earth's doppelgangers.