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Intelligent life

  1. Jul 24, 2005 #1
    Some scientists pretend that, based on the sheer number of planets in our universe able to develop life,that universe should harbor lots of intelligent life. Now imagine that for some dramatic reason, intelligent life on earth would disappear.Is there any chance that intelligent life would start up again, knowing that the origin of human species is due to hazars x hazard x hazard. Also one should take into account that intelligent life only exists since a few (possible 5 ) millions of years, compared to the 5 billion years of age of our planet earth.
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  3. Jul 24, 2005 #2


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    Both chimpanzees and baboons look like they could evolve without too much special conditions into pre-intelligent life of the Homo Habilis sort. If in addition to humans you wipe out all the primates, it might take much longer.
  4. Jul 24, 2005 #3
    umm i thought the equation states that in our large universe there is very little chance that life existed elsewhere? If we can acheive artificial life, then we may be able to acheive intelligent life out there...though one would need a really good robot to do this...the computational power to simulate in pure software would require a lot of stuff just to even maintain a virtual world.
  5. Jul 24, 2005 #4
    Lots of other intelligent animals are waiting to take first place.

    Playing for recreation, curiosity, and tool use are displayed by lots of animals in different families. Dolphins, Ravens, I think there are lots more. Elephants?

    Hard to figure how dophins would emerge as top dog without an opposable thumb, but they have comunication, tool use, and something that looks like a "game" using seaweed.

    Tool use in dolphins:

    In May 2005, researchers in Australia discovered a cultural aspect of dolphin behaviour: Some dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) teach their offspring to use a tool. The animals break off sponges and put them onto their mouths thus protecting the delicate body part during their hunt for fish on the seabed. Other than with primate simians, the knowledge to use a tool is mostly handed over only from mothers to daughters. The technology to use sponges as mouth protection is not genetically inherited but a taught cultural behaviour.

  6. Jul 24, 2005 #5


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    I don't know what equation that is. Maybe intelligent life is rare starting from scratch, but when you start from our close cousin the chimpanzee, or even from our much more distant cousin the baboon, a lot of the "work" has already been done for you.

    Not sure just what the point is here. Sending out intelligent robots to seed the galaxy?
  7. Jul 24, 2005 #6
    Attached is a picture of the skeletal hand of a dolphin. As can be observed, it has a thumb. Also see this clear diagram of a dolphin skeleton showing a thumb.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jul 24, 2005
  8. Jul 24, 2005 #7
    selfadj its that stupid physics equation...that takes into account stars,star systems/planetary systems...its just a stupid equation.
  9. Jul 24, 2005 #8


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    The Drake Eqation. Not stupid, but very speculative.
  10. Jul 25, 2005 #9
    Do not forget the very likely possiblity that intelligent life is not necessary or in other words is not a convergence point in evolution. For example, if you analzye the planet earth, we can see that the most successful species are actually not intelligent. (sucessful meaning the ability to physiologically adapt and procreate without the need to evolve, and intelligent is having reasoning abilities.) So the problem of life on earth can be solved by a myriad of ways, most of those do not include intelligent life.
  11. Jul 25, 2005 #10


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    I hope this wasnt anyones thesis
  12. Jul 25, 2005 #11

    On discovery channel there was a program about evolution that predicted Earth would in the future be dominated by Intelligent terrestrial cephalopods evolved from squid.
  13. Jul 25, 2005 #12
    It's become a trite concept anymore, but I think we'll be replaced by our own machines. These machines will probably not need us and be much more intelligent.
  14. Jul 25, 2005 #13


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    I didn't think he meant the Drake equation because I have usually seen that used to promote the commonness of intelligent life in the galaxy, not its rarity.
  15. Jul 25, 2005 #14


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    You can promote whatever you want with it. Several of the numbers going into it aren't known at all. Even trying to claim to get an answer correct within a factor of 1000 would just be ignorant.
  16. Jul 25, 2005 #15
    I could see that happening...
  17. Jul 25, 2005 #16
    I think it usually depends on the person, I have optimists end up with 300+ and some with even 1000+...I have seen people end up with 5, 4, 3 or even a big fat zero, I have seen conservatives end up with 50, I dont think its used to promote a "side" though but the creator of the equation did end up with 10,000+. For me when I try my hand in it I usually get 50-120.
  18. Jul 25, 2005 #17
    That's like saying that the dog bringing back a stick or a freezbie is a revolution.
  19. Jul 26, 2005 #18


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    So what is 'intelligence', in the context of this thread?

    I think pattylou and SelfAdjoint (at least) have hit on a couple of important aspects - tool use, learned behaviour, and (perhaps) a 'society'.

    There's also the question - raised by several posters - of what evolutionary advantage this 'intelligence' (whatever it is) gave (gives?) Homo hab. or erectus. As has already been said, our 'place' at the 'top' is pure narcissism and self-delusion - we are just one species of eukaryote among millions, and vastly outnumbered and out-succeeded (in terms of adaptability and survivability) by the prokaryotes.
  20. Jul 26, 2005 #19
    But dont dogs get taught how to do that by humans, you dont see humans going underwater and teaching dolphins whatever it is they are doing in that article...they did it themselves
  21. Aug 5, 2005 #20
    I think that a technologically advanced and organized civilization is usually what we are talking about when speak of intelligent life. It is just a lot easier to use the word intelligent. While a dolphin holding a sponge to avoid getting stung may be quite cute the conversation one can have with them is rather limited.

    If you could would you swap places with a prokaryote?
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