Do you know what you are? You’re part of the most dominant species on the planet, having greater leaps of cognition than any other species on Earth — a human, that’s what you are. What if our species just went extinct as the dinosaurs (we hope not, though), which other species can take over the planet and dominate it? We’re imagining microbes; but that’s too much for a Sci-Fi movie. However, what about before human civilization? Science, as usual, has a freaking hypothesis that suggests that thought. An advanced species before human evolution — that’s some of the weird thoughts scientists cook up.
Related media: What If We Are Not The First Advanced Civilization
Once Upon A Civilization
The Silurian Hypothesis (and that’s the weirdest scientific hypothesis ever) basically, it states that humanity might not be the first intelligent life forms to have evolved on this planet, and that if there really were precursors some 100 million years ago, virtually all signs of them would have been lost by now — that’s how bizarre it is. Having an odd thought?
An article published on The Atlantic by physicist and co-author Adam Frank says, “It’s not often that you write a paper proposing a hypothesis that you don’t support.” What he meant was, they don’t really believe for sure that a primordial civilization of Godzillas or whatever might have existed; but rather, their aim is to discover the means of finding evidence of signs of such primordial civilizations before human evolution.
Obviously, we might have seen signs of such a civilization already. After all, there were dinosaurs trekking and gliding the planet for millions of years ago, and we have evidence of dinosaur existence — their fossil records indeed. They graced the planet for over 150 million years, that’s important because it’s not just about how old the ruins of this hypothetical civilization would be, nor how widespread it was. It’s also about how long it was around.
So, technically speaking, if an advanced civilization existed, even as long as humans have, then there’s a certainty that evidence of their existence might be around in the form of fossils. And, if they were really advanced, they wouldn’t have gone extinct in the first place to begin with.
Human evolution has rapidly spread throughout all of the planet in an unprecedented scale of time — roughly hundred thousands of years. If another species did the same, probably, then our chances of finding evidence in the geological record would be a whole lot smaller. Frank and co-author Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist, claim their hypothesis is meant to pinpoint the methods of spotting deep-time civilizations.
Humans are already having a huge impact on the planet — we’re killing the Earth; as our ingenuity of technical innovation and development is given rise to environmental degradation, it’s pretty sure that if we go extinct, we’ll leave behind tons of evidence for our successors to marvel at, and surely wonder such an advanced species (humanity) once was. If even our plastic generated waste, will eventually degrade into microparticles, that integrate into the soil as sedimentary fossils.
But while plastic waste might be around for eons, it could still be difficult to count on actually finding that miniscule strata of plastic shards. Instead, it could be more fruitful to go looking for periods of heightened carbon in the atmosphere.
Currently, the planet is now facing the Anthropocene — which is mainly characterized by the widespread dominance of humanity and our influence of causing a mass extinction on the planet. It’s also characterized by an unprecedented spike in airborne carbons. We don’t mean to say there is way more carbon emissions today than ever before.
The planet was even faced with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), roughly 58 million years ago — a period of extremely high temperatures around the world, around 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer at the poles. There’s much evidence of heightened fossils records of carbon in the air around the same time — but its not really known for certain.
So, could it be a coincidental civilization? That increase of carbon unfolded over the course of a couple hundred thousand years. The spike that we’re currently undergoing is a fresh-faced 300 years old. Short answer: No, absolutely not, or we don’t know yet. What this hypothesis really present, in fact, is a way to look for primordial civilizations.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Tue, Jan 22, 2019.