Consider, for instance, the eye. We are familiar with its form from biology textbooks. A lens, a retina, a squishy liquid-filled package. From the octopus to the okapi, it doesn’t differ much. Yet that’s actually very strange because while the octopus, okapi and human share a common ancestor, that ancestor could not see. The eye developed independently, and in precisely the same way.
Convergent evolution is a thing of course. There are simply some solutions to problems that work and some that don’t. Those that don’t aren’t here. The marsupial wolf and the more normal one we know about have very similar skull and teeth settings. Because being that sort of apex predator requires that sort of jaw and teeth. The torpedo shape of a shark and a dolphin are similar – but note that the back flippers are entirely different, vertical in one, horizontal in the other.
Reality imposes (say, the nature of light, or fluid dynamics) certain spaces in which a solution can be engineered. There are different paths to getting to that solution, that’s convergent evolution.
But the larger claim here, that this means that intelligence will arise no matter what, well, jury’s still out on that one.
The moral is that although evolution’s material changes, its outcomes do not, and to some scientists this has become close to a general rule.