I’m reading John Gribbin’s Watching the Universe, a delightful collection of essays, the first of which is about his thoughts on the nature of intelligent life and why it must resemble our species.
He has a clever way to examine this idea. Of course we cannot go elsewhere in the universe to find out if his hypothesis is correct. But instead, Gribben conducts his investigation in the Age of the Dinosaurs, a long period when not mammals, but reptiles had plenty of time to evolve myriad types.
Sure enough, Gribben comes up with a candidate for an intelligent dinosaur, Saurornithoides:
“…weighing about 50 kilograms…with a brain to body weight ratio not far different from…the modern baboon…active, bipedal…and [two] four-fingered hands. Starting from this basis 65 million years ago…it might…have been possible for a Saurornithoides civilization to arise…”
What a notion. We can pursue this wonder, the evolution of intelligence, right here at home!