We know why all the humanoid species in Star Trek are so similar physically (the Chase).

But is there any mechanism to explain why all the species reached technological capabilities and warp drive at practically the same moment in geological time (Vulcans 9000BC were the earliest)? Especially since the seeding occurred billions of years before and the species followed radically different evolutionary paths towards humanoidness?

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    About the Vulcans: 9th century BC, actually. That's about 8000 years off, and that's disregarding the fact that this was interstellar travel but not, as far as we know, at warp/FTL speed. – Junuxx Nov 23 '12 at 11:06
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    Note the ferengi bought their drive tech. The Klingons inherited theirs from invaders – Valorum Mar 5 '15 at 12:47
  • Also, we learn that the Vulcans (and other space-faring races) have been visiting Earth on a nearly continual basis for thousands of years. – Valorum Mar 5 '15 at 12:56

First of all, the Vulcans developed warp drive 11 thousand years before humans. While this is indeed a blink of an eye in geological terms, it is an immensely long time in historical terms. Think of how much human civilization has changed just in the past 100 years.

What you might ask instead is why is it that intelligent life has evolved on different planets in roughly the same moment in geological time, given that the species followed radically different evolutionary paths.

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    The evolutionary paths weren't that different actually. Despite any number of factors that may have affected the development of all the species seeded by the progenitors, they all developed into extremely similar bipeds. – Xantec Nov 21 '12 at 15:13
  • @Xantec then there's your answer. :) I wrote something similar first, and then decided to leave the question open. – Dima Nov 21 '12 at 15:24
  • The Chase mentions that the genetic seed was placed millions of years ago. That means we're speaking of rather distant ancestors of modern humans (and the other races) and that historical terms are irrelevant here. – Junuxx Nov 21 '12 at 17:19
  • Vulcans were spacefaring 11 thousand years before humans, but I can find no canon source that says they used warp technology. Your point is still valid though, I'm just nitpicking. – Brian Ortiz Nov 22 '12 at 4:41

Yes, you are right. All species have developed Warp drive during a cosmological blink of time.

Well, there's an explanation: All known humanoid species have evolved from the same seed (of The Chase). They are all more or less same which includes their intelligence development rate. So, one species can't be million year smarter than other.

  • So you're saying that the common ancestor of the alpha quadrant races evolved at a constant speed everywhere, regardless of local conditions and resources? – Junuxx Nov 21 '12 at 17:15
  • @Junuxx No. Local conditions & resources are matter, that's why there're differences of hundreds or thousands years in warp development. High resistance to intelligence means slower development rate & low resistance to intelligence means faster development rate. By chance, resistances weren't also with high margin to make a species million year ahead. But, intelligence development rate is the main key & answer to the question.. – Baby Yoda Nov 21 '12 at 18:33
  • Yes, hundreds of years of technological difference after millions of years of evolutionary divergence. Some planets experienced meteorite impacts or ice ages during that time and others didn't. Humanity itself started on the path towards agriculture and then advanced civilization after the end of the last ice age ~10k years ago, but we haven't really changed anatomically for over 200k years. (1/2) – Junuxx Nov 21 '12 at 19:34
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    With slightly different circumstances I think it could have taken much longer or shorter even on Earth. And "intelligence development" rate must also be driven by environmental factors, it can't just be hardwired, otherwise it wouldn't be evolution. Just that there was some genetic seeding explains physiological similarities, but it doesn't even start to explain why humans and the other races are all so close together technologically. (2/2) – Junuxx Nov 21 '12 at 19:34
  • @Junuxx Resistance to intelligence would obviously affect intelligence development rate. By development, I meant that too. – Baby Yoda Nov 23 '12 at 5:04

The Ferengi bought warp drive technology from another race. It is likely that many of the species who use it acquired it by some means other than inventing it. Not all species have an equivalent of the Prime Directive so wouldn't hesitate to make first contact, be it for friendly reasons or to simply conquer their new discovery.

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