At the time of the formation of our solar system, Mars got much luckier in the materials repartitions: it got a core rich in heavy metals, nickel, and iron. This richer core worked like an engine that powered the planet with volcanic activity and tectonic plates for billions of years that spurred minerals esencial to life to the surface, and thickened the atmosphere until life developed itself.
Life on Mars took more time to develop than on its brother –the Earth, due to its less energetic system (receiving less solar energy); although it aroused approximately at the same time, some 4 billion years ago.
Simple microorganisms seeded the martian seas giving birth after some billions of years to chorded animals that started to crawl out of the water. This new creatures gave way to hundreds of thousands of incredible animals, some got extinct and some prevailed, evolving.
Some 5 million years ago, a quadrupedal creature that inhabited the equatorial swamps of the lesser continental mass had to readapt after its habitat got hit by a major drought and the swamps dried. This animal, after some thousands of years started to walk in two legs to save energy and to reach greater distances in the seek for water. After some 4,8 million years, the descendants of this primeval but highly evolved creature started to use fire and tools made from materials from plants and other animals. During that same period, this animals developed a very complex form of communication: language, and used it to coordinate and transmit information, thus withstanding nature's hardships. For almost 200 thousand terrestrial years, the thinking-animals colonized all of their home planet and started to self-reflect of their own existence and their paper on the land that nourished them...
And, for the first time, Mars had a consciousness.