Can we notice the traces of civilization before humanity?

byJeremy Riel

"If there was a big civilization before our civilization, how about we can find traces of ancient civilization?", AstrophysicistAdam FrankMr. explains.

Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? - The Atlantic

Mr. Frank is a person who is conducting research on the "planetary warming phenomenon" that civilizations that developed industries can affect the climate of the planet even on planets outside the earth. At one time NASA'sGoddard Institute of Space and Astronautical ScienceWhen he visited, Mr. Frank is a climatologist who is responsible for Goddard Space LaboratoryGavin SchmidtI was speaking to Mr. about my research. Then, Mr. Schmidt said that during the commentary of Mr. Frank, he asked, "Can we know that our civilization is the only civilization that happened to the earth?"

At that moment, Mr. Frank felt the flow of enormous time that existed on the earth and said that he felt dizzy. Until now Mr. Frank was doing research on extraterrestrial civilization, but inspired by Mr. Schmidt and in collaboration with Mr. Schmidt "How do you prove that there was a civilization before humanity on earth? Should I ask for it? "

"We usually have excavations of ruins buried under the ground, or sometimes think of civilizations destroyed by an external intruder, but civilizations where these buildings and remnants will remain are at most It's only a thousands-year time scale, things become more complicated when you think on a timescale such as tens of millions of years ago or hundreds of millions of years ago, "Frank says.Quaternary stratumEven if there were traces of industrial civilization such as cities, factories, and roads before, it was completely disappeared as of 2018, and it became chile and garbage.

byArian Zwegers

Researchers have not found any traces and maybe mammals with civilizations appeared, perhaps 300 thousand years ago when Homo sapiens appeared on Earth 65 million years ago when dinosaurs were extinct, possibly civilized mammals appeared I do not. Of course, mammals of those days have been discovered as fossils, but not all living things are fossilized. Few of the whole living things remain as fossils in future generations, and only a few are left, and most living things disappear without becoming fossils. In addition, since not all fossils are excavated, Frank says that there is no wonder why researchers missed fossils of creatures with civilizations that prosper for 100,000 years .

If the direct evidence of civilization disappears in only a few million years, what method can we find traces of supercritical civilization in what way? In order to answer this question, Mr. Frank thought about what kind of traces would be left on the earth after the civilizations that human beings built were collapsed.

Our civilization already leaves traces of various kinds that can be detected by future scientists. For example, the nitrogen fertilizer used to raise crop yields is widely used to maintain a population of over 7 billion people. This change in the nitrogen balance on the earth reaches the detectable amount by future scientists. Also, the excessive mining of rare metals used in electronic equipment and the fact that a large amount of rare metals that have been discarded remain on the surface of the earth can be evidence of the existence of civilization.

And it is also a trace of civilization that plastics products are disposed of in the sea and "weaponized plastic sands" that are weathered by waves, the sun, the wind are deposited. Plastic particle sand spreads not only in the coastal area but also near the deep sea and the Arctic Ocean, and it is said that an amount that can withstand the geological time scale has accumulated.


The trace that Frank thinks as the most promising is that it is "carbon" released according to the fossil fuel consumed by civilization. Although the natural carbon isotope is "carbon 12", "carbon 13", "carbon 14", the ratio of natural carbon isotope and artificial carbon isotope changes by the use of fossil fuel, and future scientists We are leaving traces that we can discover. However, in the method of finding traces of civilization from the ratio of carbon isotopes, the civilization of the span which is too short is small and there is little change in the carbon isotope and it seems to be difficult to detect.

"To develop civilization means to harvest energy from the planet," Frank says that our civilization is at the stage of harvesting energy one after another from the planet. Once the civilization develops sufficiently, it is said that civilization is required to feed energy back to the planet.

Frank said, "If we understand the need to find a sustainable energy source through climate change, the impact of civilization leaving on the planet will gradually become smaller", and in truly mature civilization the traces left in later generations It shows that there is a possibility of becoming less.

byJustin Gaurav Murgai

in Science, Posted by log1h_ik