Would we be able to tell if the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, and the K-Pg boundary iridium signature, isn’t, for example, an artifact of a weapon used in a Saurian-Avian conflict 66 million years ago? How long would evidence of our own civilization last?
If a war was the cause of the layer, the iridium would have been mined from deposits below the layer.
I believe that in previous threads on how long signs of our civilization would survive the fall of it, it was mentioned that rock quarries will still obviously be rock quarries long after we’re gone. The Saurian desire for granite countertops would have left its mark on history.
If there was a Saurian/Avian civilization 66 million years ago, then they were extremely generous in leaving all the fossil fuels for us to use. Those were created as far back as 650 million years ago.
The fact they were able to engineer a weapon with global effects, without using up any of the oil and gas is truly remarkable.
There are plenty of artifacts of Human (or Avian) civilisation that are at least as durable as the bones and exoskeletons that we see in fossils. There is no reason the evidence of the species would survive, but not its technology.
The fossil record is spread out over 100’s of millions of years. A previous civilization may have only lasted 2000 years. I’m not so sure about the rock quarries. I don’t think you could tell what a rock quarry had been after 10’s of millions of years of weathering… I’ll look up the older post.
A couple of articles about it here and here. IMO the amount of stuff a civilisation puts into the ground makes it far more likely that some of it would be fossilized, as opposed to if they were living and dying like any other species:
And one more here:
You might be on to something here, 66 million years is a fair chunk of time for sure. Time for continents to rearrange themselves some. My question is why iridium? If it was lead, then we could surmise this was the decay product of uranium and plutonium from all their nuclear power plants blowing up.
The fossil record is problematic, sure the fossils from this advance species may not appear, but all the steps that lead up to it would. I would expect something to show up in the previous 10 million years or so.
But an interesting thought …
Our pathetic human science hasn’t discovered the dangerous wonders of the phased iridium polaron technology yet.
Billions. Hundreds of Millions for multi-cellular animals, but billions for fossils in general.
Even in the 23rd century, there was a well-established market for well-preserved, well-aged Saurian brandy.
We might need to define “technology”. When I was in 7th grade, my math teacher showed us a film called “The Mathematics of the Beehive”, which described – including mathematical engineering formulas – what a marvel of engineering a beehive is. The hexagonal cells form a perfect tessellation, each wall being shared with a neighboring cell, minimizing the amount of wax needed. The shape, and in particular the orientation of the cells (always with a vertex down, not a flat side down), maximizes the strength. (If you had a cell with a side down, it would tend to sag.) Even the back wall of the cell has a hexagonal structure to it that tessellates with the back wall of the cell behind it. The engineering of the beehive is highly optimized in many ways.
So, honeybees had a highly developed technology, and they have had it for a very long time.
So, these Surians and Avians, they developed their technology without first going through a stage where they developed stone tools, i take it…
About 3.5 billion for single-cell fossils.
About half a billion for multicellular, or around 500 million.
Anyone else picturing an army led by Sauron (the Pissed-off Pterodactyl)?
Nah … all I’m getting is Super Mario Brothers …
Stephen Baxter wrote a cool book called Evolution. Each chapter is set in a seperate time period over the last Half a Billion years, and extending into the future.
One of the chapters has the viewpoints of a race of intelligent roughly human sized carnivorous dinosaurs. The wrinkle is their lifestyle is completely nomadic, involving following herds of the larger dinosaurs they prey on. And those are dying out due to climate change. It’s implyed they themselves become extinct without leaving any obvious signs of their existance that could survive the millions of years to our time.
Fired clay will last essentially forever if it’s buried so as not to be exposed to weathering. Same for carved stone.
A related question is, how much of previous eras is accessible? That is, not under water or ice, not weathered away in previous epochs, or currently buried under newer strata? I wonder how much of the Cretaceous as it then existed can still be found?
So, these dinosaurs - killed their prey with teeth and claws, I take it?
Hard to say, and highly variable from place to place e.g. the European Cretaceous chalk beds are very extensive, but in South Africa, Cretaceous strata are just preserved in a few basins. On the other hand, our Permian & Triassic coverage is pretty extensive. But I don’t know if anyone’s ever run those percentages.