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Patterns of Conservation in Energy across evolutionary history will span galaxies...

A friend asked these questions in a recent Facebook post: "The vertebrate design seems to be the winning one in our planet in terms of producing complex and thinking animals like us. 
Is there a special reason? What is so superior to this design than let's say the one of arthropods? 
Do you think if complex and intelligent life exists somewhere else in the universe could it be made of arthropod like beings with an exoskeleton?" Look to energy conservation in all things.

It was always a remarkable set of correlations to me that when I considered evolution from an energy conservation perspective that all things just made sense.

The evolution of sensing ability makes sense as a way for simple organisms to identify gradients and navigate within those fields. (Be those luminous , chemical or other gradients)

Sensing ability soon emerged the innovation of memory elements by storing aspects of sensed information for later comparison and poof the early first brain like computation is now possible....we see this ability already in archaea evolved up to several billion years ago. Memory is energy conservative because if you can identify a gradient one time and remember the pattern and then encode a motility heuristic to follow (or anti follow) the gradient for your own reasons of salience you can now optimize your survival actions dynamically in a changing environment in a super efficient way.

It all is about energy conservation.

So what of the exoskeleton of arthropod? What advantage in energy conservation does that provide? Well ...we know that such creatures evolved originally under water and the likely earliest forms evolved by accident and had the survival advantage of protecting them from being eaten by the predators of the time which were soft bodied.... detached bivalves, mollusk family members...the energy cost for producing an exoskeleton likely being worth paying for the increased survival probability under attack from a soft bodied predator. The story continues though for the vertebrates on land...where the costs for supporting an exoskeleton out weight (literally....the weight of an exoskeleton is a big cost factor in terms of time and effort to grow and mobility reducer once had) the advantages of protection especially when homeostatis enables creatures with internal skeletons to be far more mobile and active on land and so the energy advantage flips to these forms.

As for other planets I am certain the same rules of physics that constrained the efficiency domains of the evolution of various features here will apply on those other planets...with variation in water availability, atmospheric density and composition and chemical and mineral availability at the surface being the only constraints....where our chemistry is found the same regimes of probability for emergence of living forms will exist.

This is a main reason why I think we should be performing a much stronger test for exoplanets that model our Earth and Sol system more closely...I predict such planets (though rare apparently) will almost certainly also have evolved life....they may not have complex intelligent life but I am willing to bet that most of the ensemble will be found to be breathing worlds in some way...with the signature of at least microorganisms clear to see from spectographic analysis of the atmospheres (a technique actually published as possible in a research article from last year).

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