According to Vice, two scientists created a study to research if intelligent life existed on Earth before humans. Climatologist Gavin Schmidt and University of Rochester physicist Adam Frank co-authored a paper titled “The Silurian Hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geologic record?” The word “Silurian” in the title is borrowed from the science fiction television show Doctor Who. In the show, the Silurians lived on Earth millions of years before humans.
The paper, which was published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, explores what kind of signature an advanced species would leave behind. The researchers use the footprint that the current era will leave behind on the planet as a guide.
“There’s lots of things that are going well for [human civilization], but there’s a big price that’s being paid in the ecology and biology,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt and Frank suggested in the paper that what should be searched for are things like byproducts of fossil fuel consumption or disrupted sedimentation from agricultural development.
“You really have to dive into a lot of different fields and pull together exactly what you might see,” Schmidt said. “It involves chemistry, sedimentology, geology, and all these other things. It’s really fascinating.”
One of the most important aspects of the paper, according to its writers, is that if we consider the possibility that we are not the first advanced civilization on Earth, perhaps we may better recognize the value of our circumstances.
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