Was There An Advanced Civilization Before Humans? | Answers With Joe

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It took humans 10,000 years to go from hunter-gatherers to world domination. Considering the vastness of time that humans and life have been on Earth, could this have happened once before?

This question was put forth by Adam Frank and Gavin Schmidt in their paper titled The Silurian Hypothesis, where they tried to figure out what in the geologic record would be a sign of a previous industrial civilization. It brings up a lot of questions and makes you deal with the weight of deep time, as well as the fleeting nature of history.

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Comment (20)

  1. Hi Joe, The Younger Dryas period has a clear cataclysm demonstrated in the geology that can account for any flood myths, many and maybe all of which place it at around 12,000 years ago – the exact time frame for the Younger Dryas. the Mediterranean and the Bosporus are just to small and localised to account for the global nature of these myths. I guess you know this, but your video needs some clarification.

  2. Read The Science of Discworld, a humorous look at real science explored by some real-life scientists with some hilarious stories by Terry Pratchett. They explored this very premise and spoke about how this “could” have happened several times over but any trace would have been obliterated by certain global events that not only destroyed but wiped out any fossil record, evidence of civilisation, and things like mineral extraction. The earth would consequently be in a state of renewal with global super volcanic eruptions, melting the evidence away, with the earth’s crust reabsorbed leaving molten material to cool. The best hope for any sign of a prior civilisation would be artificial objects found either in earth orbit or in space… this obviously requires a level of technology that matches or surpass our own. Even then, the lack of foreign bodies proves nothing as they could have left the system, crashed into something, or burnt up on re-entry.

  3. Surprisingly I actually have this conversation a lot. I find that people can't wrap their brains around how much the face of the planet can change in 10,000 years to show no sign of previous civilizations.

  4. Isn't Al Ula in Saudi Arabia older than this (and satisfies all the requirements to be a civilization)? Carbon dating of finds close to the old city have come up with around 6000 years. There was evidence of farming, cave art to tell their stories.

  5. In my opinion, there was most definitely an advanced civilisation before humans, without question, the question is, whether or not their was one on earth before humans, elsewhere in space I think it would be stupid to think otherwise

  6. there's a lot of energy in the terrestrial region, and much of it can be used with drastically less negative impact than our current mix. For one, chemical power in total is much lower than nuclear power, especially if we include fusion. Thorium mixed with trans-uranics (including our nuclear waste) could generate enough energy to get our civilization right out into space. The real unknowns: will we avoid destruction in the meantime, will we become stagnant and collapse due to lack of continued preparedness, how good of a solution can we come up with for interstellar travel, and where our evolved understanding of thermal dynamics might lead us.

  7. If we checked out tomorrow, in 10,000 years there would be a huge amount of evidence left of our civilization. You think nuclear reactors just fade away? You think cities like Shanghai and Mexico city leave no trace of their existence? There are landfill sites all over the planet that will be full of intact Plastics. You are talking millions of years before geological forces erased all traces of humanity, and even then there would still be some fossil evidence.


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