Re: Fermi's Paradox, again

Dan Hook (
Thu, 10 Jul 1997 20:44:34 -0400

> From: Anders Sandberg <>
> Date: Wednesday, July 09, 1997 7:48 AM
> The solar system is around 5 billion years old. Life has existed for
> (say) 4 billion years. Even if we assume our solar system is one of
> the oldest generation I systems in existence, I still have the
> feeling that the time from the first bacteria to the cambrian
> explosion could have been shorter (the explosion was likely due to
> one or more "tricks" like predation and multicellularity which were
> slightly unlikely but could have happened much earlier). The same
> goes for the emergence of intelligence among the vertebrates: the
> oldest vertebrates are around 100 million years old, there is no
> strong reason intelligence couldn't have developed much earlier.

It almost did on earth. Just before the meteor hit that wiped out the
dinosaurs there was a bird-like creature with the intelligence of an
ostrich. Granted, it wasn't much, but the extinction may have set back the
evolution of intelligence on earth, or it may have moved it forward.
Depends whether primitive mammals or birds as smart as an ostrich could
evolve to intelligence faster. Is there any data for the relative
intelligence of mammals over time? How long did it take from cretaceous
mammals to ostrich level mammals? Idle speculation of course, but
interesting none the less.

Dan Hook