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Are we the earliest intelligent species ?

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#1    Saru


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 10:17 AM

Could humans be one of the earliest or even the first intelligent species to evolve in the universe ?

Daily Galaxy said:

There are 200 billion stars in the Milky Way and 90% are small enough and old enough to have planets in orbit. And only 10% of these stars were formed with enough heavy elements to have Earth-like planets with 2% of these in orbit within their star's habitable zone.

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#2    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 10:41 AM

IMO we've had species evolve and become extinct for billions of years, it's random chance that spat out sentient humans, even staggeringly small chance of intelligence should occur long before humanity on other older worlds especiall if they've avoided the extinction cycle that occurs here.

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#3    Lilly


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 10:57 AM

We may not be the first in the universe but we could very well be the first in our galaxy. The idea of essentially 'being alone' is rather frightening IMO.

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#4    Hasina


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:12 AM

Our first radio signal out to anyone else should be a collective 'FIRST' in all languages.

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#5    King Fluffs

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:21 AM

Us? intelligent?
*Breaks down laughing*

#6    Timonthy



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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:26 AM

I hope not... Whether we ever meet another intelligent species or not, it would be a shame if we were the only ones.

What a waste of space...

#7    WelshRed


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:35 AM

I think we are primitive for sure. Earth is 4.5 billion or so years old and the universe is at least 14 billion. We are still in our diapers.

IF there is a galactic neighbourhood we are no doubt classed as an endangered species to them, the reason being our species is intelligent enough to manipulate and create all manner of things but not yet smart enough to leave our world and colonise others (apart from a hop to the moon we've done nothing). If anything happened to this planet on a global level it wipes us out (an extinction level event). BUT if we colonise space permanently we stand a far greater chance of surviving as a species regardless of what happens to our home planet.

Any advanced species has reached advanced level because they left their world, if you don't, it's just a matter of time (even if that is millions of years) before "something" takes you out.

But of course another angle to look at is people living off the planet would evolve differently as well due to differing environments such as gravity etc so at some point we may not even be able to really say we are human in terms of how the future us would look like apart from by our DNA (humans that evolved for a millennia outside of the Earth would look very different for sure to us as we are now).

Edited by WelshRed, 10 October 2012 - 11:37 AM.

#8    None of the above

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:37 AM

The lack of 'evidence' of intelligent life in the minute area of the 'universe' that is observable to us is not actually evidence of anything at all.
We often make the incorrect assumption that when it comes to 'intelligent life' all roads metaphorically lead to Rome.
In other words we assume that our goal of space travel and the evolution of our technology would be parralelled by all sentient alien species.

Absolutely not.

There could be sentient races galore in the 'local' area of our Galaxy and we might never know unless we go there and see them.
It is our peculiarity that our specialisation is tool use and our obcession is expansion. Those traits are linked to our physical appearance not just our brain size.

Take Cetacea as an example. We know that there are species of Whale that are extremely intelligent. It's easy to imagine a species similar to Whales evolving to be  as intelligent as 'us'. They might develop a tradition of oral history involving songs as complicated as any human opera, they might create undersea glyphs on the seabed from carefully selected pebbles that they arrange into complex patterns, they might even indulge in some undersea 'farming' of a sort.... But they are never going to develop space travel!
It's a complex set of circumstances that gives us the ability to stretch out our hand into the universe.
Without the necessary physical traits, the raw materials, the time, the motivation and the desire..... It just doesn't happen.

Similarly, even if we assume that some tiny fraction of the intelligent life in the universe does share our abilities and aspirations, we would have to also assume that it has solved problems that even we have trouble imagining solutions for, let alone developing them. Space travel is not 'simple'.

So no, we are not the first, we are not alone.
Life I suspect is everywhere.

We might all simply be quarantined from each other by the enormous distances between us. Sadly this might always be the case.

Edited by Atlantia, 10 October 2012 - 11:57 AM.

#9    paperdyer


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:54 AM

If we are the first, it puts a whole new spin on UFO sightings.  First doesn't mean smartest!

#10    Bionic Bigfoot

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:11 PM

We are DEFINITELY not the first or the earliest. :alien:

Enrico Fermi is totally correct in his assumptions and speculations.

AND, this quote from the end of the article by Arthur C. Clarke speaks volumes....


As Arthur C. Clarke famously wrote, any advanced alien technology would be indistinguishable from magic.

This is exactly why our primitive ancestors viewed the beings visiting them in ancient times as Gods.  Their technology was like magic to our early ancestors and they were in awe.

#11    HawkLord



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Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:37 PM

View PostKing Fluffs, on 10 October 2012 - 11:21 AM, said:

Us? intelligent?
*Breaks down laughing*
Yes. I often wonder about that myself sometimes.

View PostBionic Bigfoot, on 10 October 2012 - 12:11 PM, said:

This is exactly why our primitive ancestors viewed the beings visiting them in ancient times as Gods.  Their technology was like magic to our early ancestors and they were in awe.
This is of course assuming that we had bean visited in the past. The truth is until we have absolute proof of alien life we can not know if we are the earliest of intelligent life. One day we may travel to the distant stars and find to our surprise evidence of far older civilizations that have come and gone while the dinosaurs still ruled the Earth, or perhaps nothing at all. Lets just hope that when we find primitive intelligent life that we don't treat them the way the Europeans treated the North and South American natives, Australian aborigines and other less developed cultures.

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#12    ThickasaBrick


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 01:18 PM

Considering Earth may be one of the earliest rocky worlds this is a very real possibility. One theory states that only during this current generation of stars, 5th I believe, was there enough heavy material to form rocky worlds compared to gaseous worlds from previous generations. Within a fairly short time, speaking in universal terms, life appeared on our planet, I believe that life is abundant on planets able to support life, intelligent life may just be something else. As for intelligent life making its way to our remote corner of this single galaxy, I would bet against it. I would truly enjoy being proved wrong but find no evidence to the contrary.

#13    Ashyne


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Posted 10 October 2012 - 01:19 PM

I don't think intelligence is a right word. The right word is 'imagination'. Every species is intelligent if it can adapt and survive to its environment. Social insects can build colonies and structures like humans can. Some creatures can use the environment to their advantage, for camouflage, tools, etc. However, only one species, humans, has the power of imagination. Imagination is the rare quality to look beyond the boundaries of our existence, to mentally create scenarios that we can then transfer into physical reality. Imagination allows us to look beyond our basic instincts. So, we should not say we are the only intelligent species, but we can say we are the only species with power of imagination.

#14    Chooky88



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Posted 10 October 2012 - 01:55 PM

Lol Hasina :-)

#15    Hawkin



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Posted 10 October 2012 - 02:34 PM

Are we really the most intelligent on our planet? We pollute and make war with each other. Intelligent? Hmmm

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