New Scientist Magazine (I have to admit I am a longtime fan of this popular science magazine) has had a series of articles on the search of extraterrestial intelligence and this week the coverage has encouraged a number of letters on the subject.
Two letters refer to the possibility of finding intellegent life in the form of dolphin-like creatures on another planet. One author writes 'Suppose our nearest planet with intelligent life turned out to be a watery one inhabited by intelligent, perhaps dolphin-like, creatures. These could have advanced language and a rich culture of philosophy, storytelling, poetry, music, dance and sport: but if they had no technology, we would never know about them, ....'.
I guess my question, is 'suppose our nearest planet with intelligent life turned out to be a watery one inhabited by intelligent, perhaps dolphin creatures with language and a rich culture?' - but what if that planet was not a billion miles away, but right here, under our noses.
Maybe we already share this planet with a form of life that has a different type of intelligence; one that is not setting out to manipulate its environment, but one that has developed a social intelligence that gives it an evolutionary advantage. Maybe its just us who find it hard to undertand them.
Maybe Douglas Adams was right after all.