Humans are the first highly developed species on earth. Or was there a civilization before our time? Scientists are researching this question to answer another.
Rochester – Humans are the first highly evolved species on earth, that is scientific consensus. Nonetheless, researchers from NASA and the University of Rochester questioned this theory, although they did not believe in the success of their study beforehand. Nevertheless, the research team has dedicated itself to the question “Did a highly developed civilization already exist before mankind?”. However, the researchers wanted to answer a completely different question. How long would extraterrestrial life forms realize that humanity has lived on Earth?
“Difficult to answer”: Question about highly developed civilization before humans
Because even if it seems absurd, it cannot be completely ruled out that humans are not the first highly developed life form on earth. “That’s a tough one to answer,” Gavin A. Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Adam Frank of the University of Rochester told The Atlantic of theirs study from 2018. The researchers further explain about a possible forgotten civilization: “If you don’t look for it, you could miss the evidence of its existence”.
Her study is a thought experiment with an “astrobiological perspective” on humanity and its traces on earth. In the long term, there would be very faint traces of civilization for hundreds of millions of years. The accumulation of rare metals and radioactive elements and in particular the adjustment of carbon, nitrogen and energy cycles could indicate this.
|Study name:||The Silurian Hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record? (The Silurian Hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?)|
|Publication date:||April 10, 2018|
|Authors:||Gavin A Schmidt, Adam Frank|
Predecessor civilization on Earth would be “only extremely unlikely to detect”
However, artificial materials from a possible predecessor civilization are “extremely unlikely to be recognized,” as the researchers describe. The scientists refer to the mechanism of Antikythera, the only one remaining and thus the oldest of its kind, although its existence would have been just a few thousand years ago.
Paleobiologist contradicts study: “Geologist would very quickly recognize something extraordinary”
University of Leicester paleobiologist Jan Zalasiewicz thinks the researchers’ work is extremely important, but disagrees on one point. According to him, it is quite possible that even hundreds of millions of years ago artificial materials could still be recognized as such. “A geologist of any species would very quickly recognize them as something out of the ordinary,” he tells The Atlantic.
He believes that a global civilization would have used vast amounts of these materials, just as humans do today with, for example, concrete. The more economical a possible predecessor civilization would have been with its resources, the less likely it would be to recognize them today. Therefore, according to the study, it is also quite possible that humanity would still be recognizable in the rocks of the earth for several million years after its extinction and could be recognized as such by extraterrestrial life forms, even if most of the clues would disappear completely over time.
Researchers recently made a stunning find: a diamond in Botswana could point to a hidden water world.
#civilization #earth #mankind