Saturday, April 28, 2018

Evidence of Intelligence

So would we know if there were previous advanced societies on Earth long ago?

The Silurians are a species of lizard-like creature that appeared in the cult science fiction TV show Dr. Who. They achieved industrial expertise about 450 million years ago, long before humans evolved on Earth.

The Silurians are fictional, of course. But the idea of advanced prehistoric life is an intriguing one and raises a variety of interesting questions. Not least of these is this: if an industrial civilization had existed in the past, what traces would it have left?

Basically, little of what we have done up to now would last geological time spans, although chemical traces of our civilization could be discernible in the noise of natural actions.

It's a fascinating question in its own right with implications for discovering signs of extinct civilizations on other bodies in our solar system or around other stars.

But it raises another question for me. How would older energy-using technological civilizations have arisen in the first place?

Consider that I've read that the way we have used up the easily accessible fossil fuels means that a far future attempt to follow our path after our (assumed for this argument) destruction would not be possible.

Setting aside how easy it was for us to extract the energy in the first place several centuries ago, that's an interesting issue.

If there were advanced civilizations on Earth long before modern humans, how did they get energy?

Wouldn't such a civilization have used up the easily recovered fossil fuels, denying modern humans the path we took? The path some say future civilizations could not take because of us? Doesn't this alone tell us humans were the first?

For oil in particular, is it possible that theories about production deep within the crust that seeps up closer to the surface, thus replenishing supplies given enough time, be true rather than the conventional idea that fossil fuels are one-time resources because they come from ancient plant matter placed under tremendous pressure?

I honestly have no background to judge such a claim and no reason to doubt the conventional idea. But an older disappeared civilization would raise the issue, no? Would the time between civilizations allow oil resources to be replenished?

Or is confidence in sentient ingenuity the answer. Did an ancient civilization use another "easy" source of energy that left modern humans to use fossil fuels of coal and oil?

And so would future intelligent life simply be compelled to find their own "easy" form of energy?

And if the future intelligent life was not evolved from primates, would they recognize anything about us remaining in fossil records as intelligent?

Would we recognize something from non-human sentient civilizations in the past as evidence of a technological civilization?

Anyway, an interesting article that I lack the knowledge to really evaluate.