Xenology: An Introduction to the Scientific Study of Extraterrestrial Life, Intelligence, and Civilization
© 1975-1979, 2008 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.
Robert A. Freitas Jr., Xenology: An Introduction to the Scientific Study of Extraterrestrial Life, Intelligence, and Civilization, First Edition, Xenology Research Institute, Sacramento, CA, 1979; http://www.xenology.info/Xeno.htm
14.1 Evolution of Intelligence
We may perhaps glean some insight into the evolutionary processes underlying the emergence of intelligence by examining how human intellect arose on Earth.* While details may differ from planet to planet, the outcome of mental evolution elsewhere in the universe should be at least functionally similar.
* What is the optimum body shape for sentient ETs? Scientific opinion remains sharply divided on this question, and two schools of thought have emerged. The pro-humanoid camp (including Bieri,1706 Blumrich,1058 Campbell,1380 de Camp,2572 Fletcher,1935 Howells,330 Hynek,597 Ley,212 MacGowan,600 Ordway,2571 Puccetti,71 Rall,445 and Spall1137) claims that the primate form is best for tool-using aliens. The non-humanoid camp (see Blum,1668 Broms,1191 Clarke,81 Dobzhansky,1705 Eiseley,135 Huygens,602 Muller,1184 Oparin,1558 Ornstein,327 Ruzic,559 Sagan,85 Shapley,1554 Simpson,334 Vertregt,1171 and Wald867) holds that the human form is a unique evolutionary accident that will not be repeated elsewhere. (There is also a middle-of-the-road camp, such as Anderson,63 Gardner,1555 and Molton,1129 but this is a minor faction.) The debate has raged for decades, and will not be detailed here. Suffice it to say that the humanoid form is a very useful one, so it probably will not be rare. Whether it will be common remains an open question.
Last updated on 6 December 2008