Saturday, January 08, 2011

Why are humans the only intelligent species?

That's the question that struck my mind as I was driving back home a few days back. It seems odd that humans are the only species on the Earth that are intelligent (of course, this statement assumes that whatever intelligence is exhibited by non-human species, it's so primitive in comparison to the godly intelligence exhibited by humans, that it's easily ignorable).

This looks even more odd because the Earth is the only astronomical object known to possess life. So at least as of today, humans are the only intelligent species in the entire (known) universe.


I queried this on Google, and interestingly, so many people have already asked this question!

Update (9-Jan-11): A related question that just struck me - what would happen if there are two or more intelligent species on our planet? Would they fight against each other? Would they be able to live in harmony? Is it possible that there was at least one other intelligent species on the Earth, but the early humans killed it? When many animals species are physically similar to each other in so many ways, why has intelligence not spread to any other species?


  1. Though the answer for 'Why' is a mystery but one thing is apparent that haven gotten this spectacular feature of supreme intelligence (supreme as compared to other life forms known till now)if we still live like other life forms confining ourselves to conventional Roti,Makaan & in a way unique 'kapda' philosophy & don't go for exploring & thereby utilizing its (human mind's)far far far... greater potential for much much much...higher achievements then we have in a way wasted this beautiful gift of human life!

  2. I strongly disagree. Humans have been going much, much, much further than roti/kapda/makaan since eons.

    Biotechnology, genetics, aerospace, defense, medicine, structures, electronics, materials, exploration, geology, politics, art, exploration, education, space/universe, physics, mathematics, languages, computers, surgery, energy, entertainment, sports, and transportation are just a tiny subset of the areas that humans are into, with remarkable, even magical, success in most.

    Utilizing our intelligence is what makes humans humans. We've been doing this since 'always'.

  3. I suggest looking at this Wikipedia article.

  4. You have got me WRONG...It'll be shame on my part, my education if I am unaware of these advancements...these achievements...(even an illiterate person cannot deny the success of mankind!).There's no second opinion to it!

    What I mean is that if I as a human (any particular individual) just limit myself (himself/herself) to this 'roti/kapda/makaan' philosophy then I (he/she) has in a way wasted this beautiful gift of human life.
    I mean that each one of us (humans)must try to achieve higher & higher goals, of which we have great potential coz we are "humans"! & we should not limit ourselves to the 'roti, kapda, makaan' philosophy!

    Do you think reading your post & then keying this comment on my computer & using technology for sending it to you I can deny or I'll be unaware of where the mankind has reached! & do you think I need to refer Wikipedia or any encyclopedia for reminding myself that I am living in 21st century?

    I don't think so!

  5. But I'm pretty sure I didn't misinterpret the first comment. It wasn't ambiguous.

  6. Ok end of discussion, I was wrong, I missed the 'if' in your first comment, and it changed the meaning completely.

  7. At one point, there were at least three intelligent species on earth - the last lingering Homo Erectus, Neanderthals, and the first Homo Sapiens. The first two died out, but there is no evidence Homo Sapiens actively participated in their extinction.

  8. @luschen

    Thank you for the information.