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Biological Theory

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 93–102 | Cite as

From Earth to the Universe: Life, Intelligence, and Evolution

  • Linda Billings
Thematic Issue Article: Astrobiology

Abstract

While the scientific discourse on astrobiology—the study of the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe—leans toward optimism about the possibility of extraterrestrial life, optimistic thinking is tempered by the limits of evidence and observations gathered thus far. Most astrobiologists assume that “first contact” with extraterrestrial life, if it is ever to occur, will likely be the discovery of microbial life elsewhere in our solar system. But in popular culture, “first contact” tends to be characterized as contact with extraterrestrial intelligence. This article will touch on theory and research relating to the origins and evolution of life and intelligence on Earth and speculation about extraterrestrial life and intelligence.

Keywords

Astrobiology Biology Science communication Social studies of science 

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Copyright information

© Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SarasotaUSA

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