Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 January 2011
This paper outlines hypotheses relevant to the evolution of intelligent life and encephalization in the Phanerozoic. If general principles are inferable from patterns of Earth life, implications could be drawn for astrobiology. Many of the outlined hypotheses, relevant data, and associated evolutionary and ecological theory are not frequently cited in astrobiological journals. Thus opportunity exists to evaluate reviewed hypotheses with an astrobiological perspective. A quantitative method is presented for testing one of the reviewed hypotheses (hypothesis i; the diffusion hypothesis). Questions are presented throughout, which illustrate that the question of intelligent life's likelihood can be expressed as multiple, broadly ranging, more tractable questions.