NASA Gavin Schmidt Searching For the Silurians

Gavin Schmidt and a Silurian

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Would it be possible to distinguish the fall of a pre-human civilisation destroyed by industrial CO2, from a natural climate upheaval?

A New Study Suggests There Could Have Been Intelligent Life on Earth Before Humans

Looking for aliens across deep space is great, but have we looked hard enough in our own terrestrial backyard—here on Earth?

Becky Ferreira
Apr 17 2018, 1:13am

One author of the new study, leading climatologist Gavin Schmidt, wrote a work of fiction to explore its findings. Read ‘Under the Sun’, which we published at Terraform alongside the following piece.

The human yearning to connect with other intelligent life-forms runs deep, and it has become the driving force behind a dazzling range of scientific pursuits. From the SETI Institute’s radio sweeps of the sky, to the discovery of liquid water on neighboring worlds, to the thousands of exoplanets detected over the past two decades, there have been major gains in chasing one of the ultimate cosmic mysteries—whether or not we are alone in the universe.

Outside of some science fiction stories and a speculative paper by Penn State astronomer Jason Wright, little serious thought has been afforded to the possibility that we humans are not the first species to build an advanced civilization in the solar system’s history.

“It actually hasn’t been explored that much,” climatologist Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, told me over the phone. “It never gets brought up as a potential thing that you want to look for.”

So, Schmidt paired up with University of Rochester physicist Adam Frank to co-author a paper entitled “The Silurian Hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?” The hypothesis borrows its “Silurian” title from the fictional reptilian species depicted in the science fiction franchise Doctor Who—these scaly Silurians flourished on Earth many millions of years before the dawn of our own society.

“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 told me. He emphasized that many of these consequences can seem to be “out of sight, out of mind” due to conveniences like sewage infrastructure and garbage relocation. But when considered in totality, anthropogenic activities really add up, and impact the geological record. “All of the waste and footprint is being hidden from us, but it isn’t hidden from the planet,” he said.

It’s unlikely that any massive telltale structures would remain preserved through tens of millions of years of geological activity—that holds true for both human civilization and any potential “Silurian” precursors on Earth.

Instead, Schmidt and Frank propose searching for more subtle signals, such as byproducts of fossil fuel consumption, mass extinction events, plastic pollution, synthetic materials, disrupted sedimentation from agricultural development or deforestation, and radioactive isotopes potentially caused by nuclear detonations.

“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.”

Read more: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mbxk4y/a-new-study-suggests-there-could-have-been-intelligent-life-on-earth-before-humans

The abstract of the study;

The Silurian hypothesis: would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?

Gavin A. Schmidt (a1) and Adam Frank (a2)
https://doi.org/10.1017/S1473550418000095Published online: 16 April 2018

If an industrial civilization had existed on Earth many millions of years prior to our own era, what traces would it have left and would they be detectable today? We summarize the likely geological fingerprint of the Anthropocene, and demonstrate that while clear, it will not differ greatly in many respects from other known events in the geological record. We then propose tests that could plausibly distinguish an industrial cause from an otherwise naturally occurring climate event.

Read more (paywalled): https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-journal-of-astrobiology/article/silurian-hypothesis-would-it-be-possible-to-detect-an-industrial-civilization-in-the-geological-record/77818514AA6907750B8F4339F7C70EC6

Sadly the full study is paywalled, but I think we get the idea.

The previous referenced study was by Penn State Astronomer Jason T. Wright, which concluded that it might be easier to detect traces of any previous high tech civilisation by any technical artefacts they left on other planets or on Asteroids.

I’m skeptical of theories of past civilisations, because it is difficult to imagine an event or series of events which would completely finish off an established intelligent species, especially omnivores like humans, unless that species had a specific fragility which made it especially vulnerable.

Consider the hideous aftermath of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, plants dead or dying, rotting corpses littering the landscape, a bonanza for cockroaches and scavengers. If something similar happened today, the luckiest and most determined humans would more than likely survive; if all else fails, humans can eat cockroaches.

Schmidt has also written a short fictional account about the discovery of traces of a pre-human civilisation which destroyed itself through nuclear war.

If traces of artificial isotopes were discovered, as in Schmidt’s short story, such a discovery would not necessarily end the debate. The presence of artificial isotopes is not necessarily the fingerprint of the nuclear technology of an ancient pre-human civilisation. 1.7 billion years ago a natural nuclear reactor fired up in Africa, creating artificial isotopes as byproducts of an uncontrolled natural fission reaction.

UPDATE: Gavin Schmidt has posted about it on “RealClimate” here

Advertisements

267 thoughts on “NASA Gavin Schmidt Searching For the Silurians

    • Warhorse, I used to have a jellyfish fossil from the Cambrian (500 mya) in my collection. How can you have delicate jellyfish fossils in the geologic record and not see their artifacts preserved somewhere in the geologic sedimentary record? Same goes for BigFoot, where’s an actual trace? There are three different TV programs dedicated to finding one of them, but so far….

    • That was my first thought. There would be evidence of coal mines, and our current coal deposits would be depleted. As a second thought, we find plenty of remains of Neanderthals because they BURIED their dead, and didn’t just leave their bodies to be destroyed by predators or by the elements. There would be a relatively large number of fossils from buried intelligent species- unless they cremated their dead and scattered the ashes.

    • If there was a race of intelligent dinosaurs, where are the bones. Not just of the intelligent species themselves, but all the pre-cursor species?

      • Next-thing you know Gavin will get caught up in shape-shifting aliens occupying high govt positions. When science is founded in faith upon authority and you are the authority, anything you preach is gospel.

    • Let’s give Gavin some credit- he has learned what the word “hypothesis” means. Evidently his day job (where he has to unlearn the meaning of “hypothesis”) leaves him with time on his hands. How long before his hypothesis becomes a theory, when he discovers the evidence of past Sulariazations in tree rings?

      • Paul, tree rings usually refer to his look-alike buddy, Mickey. Surely Mann can find just one tree core to match his Ozbud’s fantasies.
        Wait! How could this be made into a frightening cause for advocating world government?

      • A civilization (human or otherwise) on earth earlier than the Holocene? Where would you look?

        Suppose it had just bare bones technology – bow & arrow, plowshare, & other basic tools – living in the Eemian. Then, over time, an ice age occurred. Where the ice sheets scoured, there easily could be little or no record left of their presence, especially after 100,000+ years.

        The growth of the ice sheets would have meant sea levels fell drastically, so many could have moved into what today is hundreds of feet below sea level. Near the lower sea shore, they could have fished for food. The ones who were south of the ice sheets (eg in Central America) might have stayed put and continued to be primitive cultures.

        As the ice sheets started to recede, flooding their 100,000 year habitat, some would have moved to safety uphill to what is now just above sea level – into equatorial Africa and Central America. The pioneers might have presented a barrier to those who followed (or wanted to follow), and loss of (now submerged) crop lands & war might have left only the pioneers, and those in a primitive state.

        So, if you want to seek prior peoples and civilizations on earth, I expect that you’d want to look in Equatorial Africa, Central America, or several hundred feet down into the oceans (Atlantis anyone?).

    • That any previous advanced civilization may have ever existed on this planet is but the sheerest nonsense. Granted fossilization is normally a fortuitous event but in many instances of depositional environments it is all but inevitable. Any ancient city in such an environment (very often a culturally attractive site) would be today a veritable lagerstatte. It is true that most human made or modified materials won’t last 400 million years (exceptions may be glass, stone, etc,) but even if the actual material does not survive a cast or permineralized replacement may. In other the iron girder will be corroded or dissolved away but a nearly perfect cast of it might last a billion years. I have a carboniferous period tree trunk (>300ma) sitting on a shelf next to me. The wood is all gone but it is unquestionably a tree trunk. Where are all the stone arrowheads and spear points lost by these intelligent beings during their ascendency to high civilization? Since the article dealt with the Silurian period in particular let us take a closer look at it.
      “The Silurian is a geologic period and system spanning 24.6 million years from the end of the Ordovician Period, at 443.8 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Devonian Period, 419.2 Mya” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silurian
      “A significant evolutionary milestone during the Silurian was the diversification of jawed and bony fish. Multi-cellular life also began to appear on land in the form of small, bryophyte-like and vascular plants that grew beside lakes, streams, and coastlines, and terrestrial arthropods are also first found on land during the Silurian. However, terrestrial life would not greatly diversify and affect the landscape until the Devonian.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silurian
      What was the Silurian like? Well without widespread land plants and their root systems to bind soil (rock particles) any primitive soils would no doubt have soon been washed down to the sea. This , at least during most of the Silurian, would have meant that the landscape would have been mainly bare rock with but a few simple plants mainly in low spots where soil and water might collect exploited by a few adventurous arthropods. That would have been a pretty dismal place for any advanced life to eek out a living. So let’s turn to the sea. What we have here are the most primitive bony fish, arthropods like trilobites and eurypterids, and cephalopods. Surprisingly the cephalopods may have had at this time the better chance to have evolved higher intelligence but the fossil record, which is pretty robust for the Silurian, fails to provide any evidence of any advanced life forms.
      Maybe what attracts Gavin Schmidt to the Silurian is all that CO2. 4500ppm.

      • John,
        I suggest that ‘The Silurians’ – being one [of many] antagonists encountered by Doctor Who in her [previously his] peregrinations through the space-time continuum – had a name chosen because it was not too hard, and not too easy.
        Cambrians – insulted the (modern) Welsh;
        Ordovices – too difficult;
        Devonian – applauded by the Cornish, if applied to black-hat baddies!

        I don’t think the [BBC] fiction of Doctor Who really expected to find a prior civilisation.

        Gavin Schmidt – I don’t know.
        Perhaps Novellas appeal more now the wheels are – slowly – coming off CAGW [and its latest Nomen Dubum, “Climate Restoration”].

        Auto – a modest fan of The Doctor
        [and a huge fan of the Daleks, whose original plans to conquer the Universe had a crimp put in it – because, being wheeled, they couldn’t climb stairs!]

      • Auto,

        The Ordovices and Silures were also Welsh tribes, the former in the north and latter in the southeast.

        As you may know, the Ordovician Period was created in order to settle the feud between advocates of the Cambrian and Silurian “systems”.

      • Do we know how common the permineralized replacement occurs when a relic decays over time? Does it occur only in special cases where the right mineral composition, lack of erosion, and upheaval are present? What I’m trying to say is, just because we discover fossilized remains, should we always expect to see them from that far back in history? Could it be that there was a period of time in the past where the local conditions were so austere that the remains of the alleged Siurians could have been completely erased? Pinning our expectations on the evidence that did stand the test of time does not mean that some bit of evidence will always remain.

      • That any previous advanced civilization may have ever existed on this planet is but the sheerest nonsense.

        One’s nurtured Religious beliefs, more often than not, prevents their use of common sense thinking, logical reasoning and/or intelligent deductions on matters or subjects that are deemed directly contrary to what their Religious doctrine teaches them. (See last paragraph below)

        Via his lead statement, Eric Worrall asks:

        Would it be possible to distinguish the fall of a pre-human civilisation ………

        It is not only possible, but pretty much factually confirmed by those persons who have not intentionally averted their eyes and their mind to all of the historical evidence that has been discovered that could only have been constructed by or via the direction of a far more intelligent earth residing species than modern humans are capable of.

        Three (3) of the most famous examples of the aforesaid “historical evidence” is: 1) The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt, …… 2) the stonework of Machu Picchu, Peru ……. and 3) the stone ruins of Puma Punku, Bolivia.

        If modern human professors, researchers, investigators and/or explorers would “cease n’ desist” (quit) attributing the constructing and use of the aforesaid “historical evidence” as being for the purpose of conducting acts of “Religious fanaticism” …… then the literal and/or scientific truths of their construction might be resolved.

      • Samuel,

        Talk about religious belief!

        The structures which you cite were clearly built by people no more intelligent than those now living.

      • Samual, the construction of all of those things is well explained without any need to invoke aliens or advanced ancient societies.

      • I’m most familiar with Machu Picchu. Construction materials there came from the same plateau on which the city was built. The rock quarry is still visible nearby, so, the Incas had no trouble obtaining stone blocks. In fact, most rocks are smaller than those used at Sacsayhuamán on the outskirts of Cuzco, and Ollantaytambo, some 45 miles NW.

        Just as with their invention of freeze-drying food, the Inca engineers and stonemasons benefited from the local climate. The rocks were probably cut suing the wooden wedge technique, in which holes were drilled and wet wooden wedges inserted into them. When the wet wooden wedges froze, the expanding ice created fissures in the rock. Smoothing the blocks would have been laborious, but doesn’t require aliens or people of superior intelligence.

      • MarkW – April 17, 2018 at 5:13 pm

        Samual, the construction of all of those things is well explained without any need to invoke aliens or advanced ancient societies.

        Shur nuff, MarkW, just like Chimp “well explained it” via his great words of wisdom, to wit:

        Chimp – April 17, 2018 at 5:27 pm

        The rocks were probably cut suing the wooden wedge technique, in which holes were drilled and ……..

        Yes SIREEEEEE, that hard granite rock that was used at Machu Picchu and Puma Punku was soft enough to “cut like butter”.

        Yup, how could I be so stupid as to not believe the experts that only simple copper or bronze chisels and wooden hammers was all that was needed by the locals for carving out granite things such as this, to wit:

        The ancient site known as Puma Punku on the Altiplano of Bolivia and just south of Lake Titicaca is part of the Tiwanaku complex. Standard academics believe it was created by the Bronze Age Tiwanaku people between 1000 and 2000 years ago, but they ignore the fact that bronze tools can not cut the stone above, which Canadian geologist Suzan Moore believes is granite.

        The stone is believed to have been quarried from the dormant volcano called Cerro Khapia, which is just across the Peruvian border, some 70 kilometers away. How the stone was transported, with some pieces weighing at least 20 to 30 tons, is unknown.
        Source https://hiddenincatours.com/stone-puma-punku-bolivia-magnetic/

        And MarkW, …. Chimp, …… please tell me how the Egyptians managed to cut all the white limestone that once covered all 4 sides of the Great Pyramid?

        And the Egyptians never constructed anything that they didn’t decorate by putting their “name” all over it.

      • Here ya go, ….. MarkW, …… Chimp, ……. chew on this awhile, …. to wit:

        A Logical Perspective On the Origins of Homo sapiens sapiens

        A genetically created, biological procreating, environmentally nurtured humanoid

        The Origins of Homo sapiens sapiens, otherwise known as humanoids or humans, has been a controversial subject for eons and eons. Or to be more exact, ever since any particular isolated group of humans became sufficiently nurtured by their environment to begin questioning their own origins or existence.

        There are three (3) schools of thought concerning the origins of humans. The 1st one is based in/on Religious beliefs that the heavens, the earth and everything upon the earth is the product of a Creator, a God. The 2nd one is based in/on Science that the universe and the earth is the product of the “Big Bang” and that all life forms past and present is the product of Evolution of the Species via “natural selection and decent with modification”. The 3rd one, on which the following commentary is predicated, is based in/on the logical possibility of a group of intelligent alien explorers migrating to planet earth and via DNA modifications of members of a now extinct species of ape, thereby biologically creating humans in their present form to serve the “will and needs” of said alien explorers.

        The intelligent entity responsible for the DNA modifications of an extant species of the hominidae family (great apes) that resulted in the origin of the genus Homo are, for unknown reasons, long gone from the earth, leaving only two (2) factual records of them ever being here. One of said records is the fossils of several now extinct species of Homo with us humans being the only surviving member of the Homo lineage.

        The other record being the hundreds of archeological “clues” that pretty much dictates that a highly intelligent entity with the necessary resources were responsible for their construction. We know this to be a fact because many of said historical sites have been, and still are, being researched and/or investigated to determine the means and methods of exactly how they were constructed. We do not know the actual answers to these queries.

        The per said, personality of a few of the aforementioned historical construction sites would defy the abilities of present day humans to recreate, even with their access to current technology and tools. Thus, said constructions give reasons and purpose as to why an intelligent entity, or group of alien explorers of this planet, would have need for the creating of a “labor force” that could be nurtured to perform whatever type of work or service that they wanted them to perform.

        The alien explorers would also have had the means and methods to “cull” the procreating humanoid population so as to only retain the humanoids with the most desirable attributes to serve their intended purpose(s). Even in present times, this is still a standard practice in animal husbandry, as well as in the “selective” breeding of other species of animals. Also, selected individuals of various animal species are being nurtured by their owners or caregivers, beginning soon after their birth, to perform or serve whatever “labor force” purpose their caregiver chooses.

        We humans have now become what we were originally created to be.

        The intelligent entity or alien explorers, given their absence, were no longer directing and/or controlling the nurturing of the humanoid population. Thus, all humanoids born after said aliens “vanished” became totally dependent upon their environment to nurture them and all newborn humans became almost totally dependent upon their parent(s) or guardians for their care and nurturing if they were to become social members of their family unit, tribe, group or culture.

        The reason for said “vanishing” of the alien explores could be one of several reasons. One possibility is that they simply decided to “go back home” from whence they came. But the highly probable reason is that their humanoid “labor force” rebelled against their control and authority and destroyed them. And in doing so, the humanoids also destroyed everything that reminded them of their per say enslavement by the alien explorers except for the now present remains of ancient stone-work construction, etc. This would explain why there has never been found any tools, or records of tools, that would have been required to perform the aforesaid construction.

        We are what our environment nurtures us to be.

        Upon gaining their freedom from their enslavers, small groups of the now human population wandered off in all directions to fend for themselves. And in doing so, these now isolated groups were dependent upon their new environments to nurture them with the means to survive. As they learned new and better survival traits from their environments they became quite successful as hunter-gathers at finding sufficient food resources for their survival.

        As the population of these groups increased the need for social rules and guidance became necessary for their survival. Thus a leader was either chosen or the strongest member of the group took control and rules of social conduct were established by proxy or by the individual leaders themselves. In the latter situation the rules of conduct could change each time a new leader took control.

        A need for religious beliefs arises.

        As the individuals within these groups became more intelligent and knowledgeable of their environment they began to question those things they were subjected to that they didn’t understand, including thunder, lightning, the seasons and their own origins. And when such questions arise in social groups of humans their leader(s) were queried for an answer to them. But their leaders no longer had any memories of, or the access to any of the alien explorers that originally created humans, to nurture them on their origins, or any historical records that would explain things to them. Therefore the leaders and/or oldest members of these isolated groups were forced to use their imagination to create acceptable “reasons” for said origins in order to appease the curiosity of the individuals in said group.

        Thus Gods and Goddesses were thought up to “explain the unexplainable”. And the isolation of the different groups of humans resulted in differences in their imagined “reasons”, otherwise known as “religious beliefs”. Our knowledge of said religious beliefs are recorded in both the archeological and historical records of past cultural groups, of which some are the root source of most all present day Religions.

        A per say, ….. Religious belief decent with modifications, ….. from the polytheism worshipping of the past to the monotheism worshipping of the present.

        Cheers

    • Alan,

      Good question.

      Unless Gavin has violated rules, such as blogging on the public dime, Trump can’t fire him. But he could ask Congress to shut down GISS and transfer Gavin to the North Pole.

      • South Pole would be better. Make him president for life of Marie Byrd land the only unclaimed land in the Antarctica and thus the only unclaimed land in the world. You arent allowed to do any commercial activity in Antarctica but science is allowed even pseudo science like CO2 climatology is allowed. Problem is he wouldnt last very long in Antarctica without grant money. The greenies organizations are rich they could fund him.

      • Alan,

        I considered that, but the research station at the South Pole is too comfy. A floating station at the North Pole would be lonelier. But Marie Byrd Land is a good suggestion.

        Or he could collude with the Russians at Vostok Station, until recent observation of an even colder interior region, the coldest recorded place on the planet.

      • Anything that takes away from the dignity of another person rather than arguing his/her ideas is unacceptable

      • True – not just because it is impolite, but because it often indicates no valid argument against the man’s logic can be found. And there are lots of good arguments to use against his ideas.
        Nevertheless, his intellect is an easy target.

      • The honorable thing is to sacrifice a bit of one’s own dignity to diminish others’.
        Poo on them!

    • Funny, Art Bell just passed away, and he would have had Gav on his radio show in a New York minute. But he’d have to use his full name, though (inside joke).

  1. This subject has been around for decades and I do know it’s been talked about within scientific circles. As much as I dislike Schmidt, I have to agree that the possibility needs to be explored, despite the low degree of likelihood anything will be found.

    “it is difficult to imagine an event or series of events which would completely finish off an established intelligent species”

    But it’s really not. There are many reasons why a technological civilization can go extinct. This is called, the great filter. It’s spoken of quite often in SETI research.

    • And within those scientific circles, anyone who proposed looking for historical artifacts based on the Bible would be considered a religious zealot. Looking for paleo-civilizations that validate the cult of technological self-destruction, however, is completely mainstream.

  2. Another perpetually pessimistic alarmist. Is there anything these guys are optimistic about. Except their paycheck from spreading alarm. (Which, hopefully, is of limited duration.)

    • I see this less as an example of alarmism than as a transparent effort to open up a whole new, profitable, vein of research funding where you never actually have to produce tangible results.

  3. Silurians … what about the Devonians … and let’s not forget about the Ordovicians [ sorry ….. my fault … bad geo humor :)) ]

  4. I would expect, at the very least, that there would be geochemical anomalies in rocks corresponding to the locations of cities. Some of the more chemically resistant ceramics and metal alloys might persist as xenoliths, even in in igneous rocks. There is a classic study of a zircon-rich layer in sediments being traceable through a granitic body, which has been used as an argument for granites being the result of extreme metamorphism rather than melting. If they had ocean-going ships, there might be fossil casts of sunken vessels preserved in deep-water shales or limestones. There have been spheroidal pockets discovered in Scandinavian limestones of Devonian age. While most of the silicates had turned into clays, there was still remnant chromite from the meteorites that landed in the ocean and were buried by limestone. If things that small have been found, it is unlikely that we would miss ships, aircraft, and land vehicles. While lack of evidence isn’t evidence against a former intelligence species, the lack of evidence would at least suggest an extremely low probability.

  5. The place to look for artefacts from a hypothetical earlier technological civilization on Earth would be the Moon where the likelihood of preservation far outweighs that on Earth. As far as I know nothing obviously unusual has been found yet by a whole array of orbiters.

  6. I think the geologic record is rich enough and goes back a very long time for the geologists to have seen anything pre-advanced civilization.

    I think the truth is he is seeing the gravy train leave the station and is trying to buy his ticket for the next one.

    • We’ve explored earth to a microscopic level, and never yet found anything hinting at extra terrestrial (other than myth, legend, and the Nazca Lines).

      It does look like he’s looking for a well paying but easy job for his disappearance from the public view.

    • I agree, Greg. He may not have solid science, but his pull with the media is strong. Might as well use rediculi to retain his pop-science following.

  7. Any planetary interactions in a less stable solar system would see planets stripping surface material from each other.

    I suspect this happened to some human civilizatons in our own history 5 to 10 thousand years ago, but all we really have are hypothesis and mythology to look at.

    When material is excavated by such events, all traces would be destroyed in that material and some of it ends up in space and some deposited elsewhere on the planet.

    There is just no valid reason to state without uncertainty of massive margins, that the solar system has been stable for billions of years.
    We’ve know there have been civilizations that just seemed to have stopped existing overnight geologically speaking.

    It’s not that I think these things happened, I say we just don’t have the evidence to rule it out.

    To me though, a stable boring solar system makes no sense, and I don’t buy the accretion theory for many reasons not least the fact that it seems other systems didn’t form that way.

    Schmidt the “climatologist” lol. Seems anyone can call themselves that these days, such a vague title, apparently all you need is to be average at maths and do some bad science and hey presto, you are a climatologist

    • I don’t know where to start from. Are you +possibly+ having a stroke of Dunning-Kruger?

      Naah, I don’t know a hist of astronomy, but I have this pet theory of mine that contradicts not only with astronomy but geology, paleontology and archaelogy. Just add ‘Einstien’ in and I can replace comb ceramics with crackpots.

      • “Are you possibly having a stroke of Dunning-Kruger?”

        It is certain, and so are you, and so am I. Everyone has it. It is a phenomenon by which the under-achiever overestimates her achievement; and the overachiever underestimates her achievement. I suppose the exact estimate of actual achievement might be the exception; but there you have a problem of knowing when you exactly identify your own achievement.

        One of the strongest indications of DK is asserting DK.

      • Michael,

        Then there’s the guy that flips back and forth. Kinda like a manic depressive.

        “One of the strongest indications of DK is asserting DK.” This statement only applies to one kind of DK though doesn’t it?

  8. Even more concerning is the presence amongst us of the Cardassians, the alien beings once thought of as merely fictional creatures from Star Trek. These hideous large-bottomed monsters cunningly disguised themselves by a slight change of name and now openly prey on the gullible and weak-minded members of our society. Who would have thought that calling themselves Kardashian would have been enough to blind our world to their truly terrifying existence. But there they are, hiding amongst us. Just like c, m and d are hiding in Schmidt.

    • When Plato reported on the myth of Atlantis he was making a moral point about the decline of his own civilization.
      Schmidt is doing the same.
      Frankly, I prefer him trying amateur philosophy over his amateur attempts at science. It seems less dangeous to the poor.

      • You’d be surprised how dangerous Philosophy is. More people have been killed because of ideas than as a result of natural resource competition or political greed…

      • @dodgy geezer

        Well, the opposite is also true. Ideas have improved the lives of millions of people. Don’t judge philosophy. Judge the philosopher and what he or she says.

  9. I don’t think this would even rise to the really bad, schlock level of Mystery Science Theater 3000 of below-B-grade sci-fi.

  10. Better yet, in the artifacts collected or found, could we be the result of extra-terrestrial seeding? Like the end to Battle Star Galactica? (the new series of course)

  11. We have barely made near observation — not reproduced — at the edge of our solar system; inferred information from signals from beyond, where there are known unknowns that reduce signal fidelity; and speculate about the origin of humanity and everything else. People’s need to believe in something, anything, and match patterns in the sand, seems to be an undeniable motive for leaps, assumptions, and assertions, well outside the limited scientific frame of reference and logical domain.

    • The more UNlikely. More technology means more means to adapt to changing conditions.More ways to produce food, to keep people warm and dry, etc. As long as you have the social structure to keep technicians working, and you will, since those doing it obviously have an edge over those failing and going “back to the trees” Uncle Vania’s way.

    • While the society may collapse, the people themselves continue living.
      Given how wide spread humans are today, in order for a single accident to destroy all humans, you would pretty much have to destroy all life in general.

  12. I wonder if there is a slightly different explanation for Schmidt’s approach ?? Not least because of the ever-growing public scepticism about ‘climate change’ .

    If ‘evidence’ could be ‘found’ that an earlier civilisation had destroyed itself on earth … what a massive story that would be to try and bolster flagging belief in ‘climate change’ and boost ‘environmental’ activists claims about mankind’s “destruction” of the earth.

    Just a thought ….

    But as the public grow ever-more doubting and sceptical it has little effect on the politicians and global businesses that are 100% focussed on using CC to “change the economic model that has prevailed since the industrial revolution” (whilst locking in their profits) and the UN’s dream of an unelected, unaccountable and basically anti-democratic world government. In my mind the greatest threat mankind faces from man-invented ‘climate change’ is the destruction of true democracy at the hands of bureaucrats, environmental lobbying groups and multi-nationals.

    • Those of you who are familiar with the EU will know that its ‘founding fathers’ and embryo eurocrats believed that the average voter could not be trusted to make the ‘correct’ political decisions and that these must be put in the hands of a technocratic elite.

      The EC and subsequently EU was structured accordingly to create a fig-leaf of democracy for the voters in each nation whilst policies and new laws are created by unelected eurocrats. These are then issued as Directives which must then be adopted into each nation’s law by their own elected, but now virtually impotent, politicians. That way a semblance of democracy is maintained as laws controlling people’s lives have the appearance of being made by the people they elected.

      It has led to a massive disconnect between people and law makers that the voter has no way of getting rid of. Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece have unemployment levels of some 40% amongst young people as a direct result of EU economic policies – but the voters have no way of changing those policies.

      The UN seeks a similar approach to an unelected and unaccountable world government. But unlike the British public being able to vote for Brexit there will be no such escape mechanism from an unelected World Government.

      AGW / Climate Change is the Stalking Horse, or Trojan Horse if you prefer, to achieve the UN’s anti-democratic aims.

  13. Do we have a candidate phylum for this imaginary extinct intelligent life?

    Presumably they were animals (Kingdom Metazoa of Domain Eukaryota). Phylum Mollusca? Phylum Arthropoda? Or our very own kin in Phylum Chordata?

    • Iguanodon, Early Cretaceous, ornithischian herbivores, would not be my first choice among dinos. They were at least capable of bipedal locomotion.

      Late Cretaceous coelurosaurian theropods of some kind are more likely, particularly maniraptors. Troodon is usually cited as the most intelligent of known dinos, although the validity of the genus was called into question last year. Also, it lived ten million years from the end of the Cretaceous, so presumably something with an even higher brain to body mass ratio might well have evolved during the Maastrichtian Age. Having only three fingers might be a drawback, but omnivory, as some suggest was the case for troodontids and ornithomimosaurs, would be a plus.

  14. Schmidt and Frank propose searching for more subtle signals, such as byproducts of fossil fuel consumption, mass extinction events, plastic pollution, synthetic materials, disrupted sedimentation from agricultural development or deforestation, and radioactive isotopes potentially caused by nuclear detonations.

    Yeah. ‘Cuz all the geologists and archaeologists and cartographers and miners and explorers on the planet haven’t found any such thing because, why? They were looking for something else?

    Some claims defy ridicule. Every scientist with a drop of ethics should be denouncing this or be branded a coward. NASA should be ashamed. Sadly, the former won’t and the latter aren’t.

  15. Just how retarded can NASA get? There is not one shred of evidence of this (or aliens visiting us for that matter) and yet we have “scientists” exploring this possibility? They should search for Unicorns and the Loch Ness Monster living in Lake Michigan as well.

    A species capable of an advanced civilization would have to evolve… Evidence of this please?

    It would leave behind art and structures that would have to exist in some trace amounts… Evidence please?

    Industrialization would leave all sorts of scars and concentrations of materials that could not be easily otherwise be explained.

    And I suppose this civilization wiped itself out through too much CO2 as well? So 4 degrees C wipes out wide spread advanced civilations??? Ugh.

    Even SETI has failed to produce any evidence of advanced civilizations, and that one at least seemed to me to have a chance given the number of star systems out there.

    Wild imaginations may drive AGW, but they can’t replace disciplined science. A 5-year old could “imagine” such fairy tales, but it takes a highly trained 20+ year old to advance our understanding of REAL processes.

    • well no wonder no one has found Nessie yet, they’ve been looking in the wrong place! instead of searching Loch Ness, they should have been looking in Lake Michigan. D’oh. ;)

    • Robert,

      It’s entirely possible that the Slestak (sp?) did not leave any evidence on earth because Dr. Marshall & his kids were repeatedly successful in keeping them (the Slestak) from being able to travel to this dimension/time. (and if they did we wouldn’t be here to wonder about anything … those Slestak were mean and tough).

      What Gavin should be searching for is the pylons & crystals that may or may not control the time door(s).

  16. There’s more to this sci-fi story:
    http://metro.co.uk/2018/04/16/another-civilisation-earth-humans-scientists-investigate-7470510/

    “Could the… Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) – be evidence of global warming caused by an extinct civilisation?”

    “…some planets might have fossil-fuel-driven cycles of civilization building and collapse. If a civilization uses fossil fuels, the climate change they trigger can lead to a large decrease in ocean oxygen levels. These low oxygen levels (called ocean anoxia) help trigger the conditions needed for making fossil fuels like oil and coal in the first place. In this way, a civilization and its demise might sow the seed for new civilizations in the future.”

    Are Schmidt and Frank serious? Evidently they are, as they are literally pushing fairy tales as plausible scientific scenarios: A previous civilization evolved on Earth and wiped themselves out by triggering catastrophic global warming through the use of fossil fuels. And it didn’t just happen here, it’s happened time and again on other planets as well.

    This is beyond stupid. This scare mongering propaganda proves yet again that the vast majority of climatologists are not scientists. They are witch doctors.

    • We are living in the world of OZ when the CEO of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a division of NASA, is now pushing for research into aliens. I shake my head in disbelief. If Schmidt thinks that this is going to save him from the wrath of the public when the media finally report that Global warming is a hoax then he is sadly mistaken. He is lucky Trump is too busy fending off investigations for now to be able to fire Schmidt.

    • I had no problem reading the paper at the International Journal of Astrobiology. Here’s an interesting footnote regarding the PETM quote:

      While it is tempting to read something into the nomenclature of these events, it should be remembered that most things that happened 50 million years ago will forever remain somewhat mysterious.

      No kidding?

    • I also noticed that while reading a link earlier. It appears to me that a new, desperate attempt at blaming any and all warming in geologic history on the nefarious industrial crimes of advanced civilizations.

    • If 7000ppm of CO2 didn’t create the conditions necessary for ocean anoxia, then I don’t see how going from 280ppm to maybe 500ppm is going to do it.

  17. Guys like Schmidt have blood on their hands. They are the indirect cause NO i will say direct cause of some elder people around the world in cold climates freezing to death or catching respiratory infections and dying from low temperatures in the home in winter cause they couldnt afford the sky high energy prices that this hoax has caused.

  18. And people take him seriously???

    Science has found traces of the original tiniest lifeforms from billions of years ago. Science has determined that there were several life-exterminating events in the prehistorical early earth. Science has found evidence of the development and expansion of lifeforms from the tiniest one-celled creatures, through the Cambrian explosion, the first land animals, the huge dinosaurs and their extinction, right up to the modern day. But an advanced civilization could have existed that science somehow hasn’t been able to detect a trace of??? Gimme a break!

    • What would a 300 million year old civilization fossil look like?

      Traces of human civilization can disappear very quickly.

      https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/laser-scans-reveal-60000-hidden-maya-structures-guatemala-180968030/

      The fossil record is very incomplete, with the preservation biased toward hard-shelled creatures (trilobites, bivalves, etc.). 24% of extant marine bivalves have not been observed in the fossil record. Preservation and resolution both degrade with increasing geologic time.

      • In my youth some half a century ago I read a book by Charles Fort, he spent his life collecting data about out of place objects and other anomalies. Much ends up in museums in a basement after a run in the newspapers of the time.

        Worth a read and a think when things like jewellery and fully machined stainless steel objects turn up in coal.
        That was a time when coal was mined by hand and delivered to homes to burn. That is just one snippet that comes to mind, Mr Fort had thousands in his book and a house crammed with things that should not have existed. Their was a Fortian society once, maybe they still exist.

      • “What would a 300 million year old civilization fossil look like?”

        Ceramics are virtually indestructible, as are many metals. The native copper of the Keeweenaw Peninsula is about a billion years old.

      • Grind ceramic material up into clay to sand sized particles, wash them down a river and bury them in mud, cover with thousands of feet of additional sediments and apply 300 million years of tectonics.

      • hum… so you are showing traces of human civilization we found as proof these traces disappear…
        “you see this relic? well, you cannot see it, because it disappears so quickly”.

      • You can’t actually see it. Without Lidar, you wouldn’t even know it was there… and it’s only a few thousand years old.

      • On the other hand, scientists found a 350000 years old axe in Atapuerca, Spain:

        Sima de los Huesos (1983 to present)
        Sima de los Huesos (Pit of Bones) accounts for the greatest number of valuable scientific discoveries and knowledge acquired with far-reaching implications. This site is located at the bottom of a 13 m (43 ft) deep shaft, or “chimney” accessible via the narrow corridors of the Cueva Mayor.[8]

        Since 1997 the excavators have located more than 5,500 human skeletal remains deposited during the Middle Pleistocene period, at least 350,000 years old, which represent 28 individuals of Homo heidelbergensis.[9] Associated finds include Ursus deningeri fossils and a hand axe called Excalibur.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atapuerca_Mountains

      • There’s a world of difference between 350,000 and 300,000,000 years. The oldest surface area of the Earth is less than 2 million years old.

        This is a 350,000 year old axe…

        Apply 299,650,000 years of geology and it won’t look like an axe.

      • What would a 300 million year old civilization fossil look like?

        Where does the 300 million year date comes from? Is it Gavin´s or yours?

        Anyway, no animal had a brain evolved enough to develop technology 300 millions years ago.

      • 300 million years ago (Pennsylvanian), the climate and atmosphere were very similar to current conditions. However, any time period prior to the Quaternary could be used.

        The issue isn’t whether or not an advanced pre-human civilization existed. The issue is how well evidence of it would be preserved in the geologic record if it existed. The answer is at best poorly and at worst not at all… with quality of preservation degrading with time.

      • Yes, the ruins are there. However, they were not known to exist until they were identified with LiDAR…

        With the help of a pioneering laser-mapping technology, researchers have made a major archaeological discovery in Guatemala. According to Tom Clynes, who broke the story in a National Geographic exclusive published last week, more than 60,000 Maya structures—among them houses, fortifications, and causeways—have been identified amid the jungles of the Petén region, shaking up what experts thought they knew about the complexity and scope of Maya civilization.

        […]

        Researchers have long thought that Maya cities were largely isolated and self-sustaining. But the LiDAR scans indicate that the Maya civilization was in fact interconnected and sophisticated, not unlike the ancient civilizations of Greece and China. For example, the team discovered a network of wide, elevated causeways that linked Maya cities and may have been used to facilitate trade between different regions.
        The scans also suggest that the Maya civilization was much larger than previously believed; estimates had placed the population at around 5 million during the Maya classical period, which spanned from about 250-900 A.D. But the new data suggests that the population may have been as large as 10 to 15 million people, “including many living in low-lying, swampy areas that many of us had thought uninhabitable,” as National Geographic Explorer Francisco Estrada-Belli, who was also affiliated with the project, tells Clynes.
        Most of the newly discovered structures appear to be stone platforms that would have supported the pole-and-thatch homes that most Maya lived in, according to Stephanie Pappas of Live Science. The survey also revealed a surprising number of defense systems from walls, to ramparts, to fortresses.

        Some of the land mapped with LiDAR technology was unexplored. Other spots had been excavated previously, but LiDAR helped reveal features that archaeologists were not able to see, including a seven-story pyramid covered in vegetation. Archaeologist Tom Garrison tells Pappas of Live Science that the new maps also pointed experts toward a 30-foot fortification wall at a site called El Zotz. “I was within about 150 feet of it in 2010 and didn’t see anything,” he says.

        […]

        https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/laser-scans-reveal-60000-hidden-maya-structures-guatemala-180968030/

        This is after less than 2,000 years. Within a few million years, there would be little trace of these ruins. Within 10’s of millions of years, there would be no trace of the ruins.

        100 million year old fossils aren’t a novelty.

      • “The answer is at best poorly and at worst not at all… with quality of preservation degrading with time.”

        True in principle, but under suitable conditions surprisingly ephemereal remains can be preserved for very long periods. A few examples from my own experience:

        Laetoli in Tanzania where 3 700 000 year old human footprints are preserved.

        Sihetun formation of Liaoning where e. g. color patterns of bird feathers 130 000 000 years old are preserved

        Hallet cove at Adelaide where 300 000 000 year old glacial striations are preserved.

        Of course such preservation, “Konservatlagerstätten”, is quite rare, but a technological civilization would leave immense numbers of artefacts, some very durable, and other traces behind. Some would be certain to be preserved.

        Of course remains out in space would last best and longest. Read Poul Anderson’s short story “Memorial” for a fictional treatment of this theme.

      • The most likely telltales would be geochemical anomalies. It’s possible that only about 1% of the species that ever existed are represented in the fossil record.

        http://pages.geo.wvu.edu/~kammer/g231/AdequacyFossilRecord.pdf

        Either they were not initially preserved or the stratigraphic units in which they were fossilized are gone, through erosion and/or tectonic processes.

        Human civilization, so far, hasn’t done anything that will likely lead to a significant “mark” in the future stratigraphic record…

        Summaries of anthropogenic changes to the Earth system and their occurrence in the stratigraphic record can be found in Zalasiewicz et al. (2008, 2011) and Waters et al. (2014a, 2014b). That stratigraphic record is negligible (Walker et al., 2015), especially with a boundary set at 1945, as recently proposed by the Anthropocene working group (Zalasiewicz et al., 2015). Most of the stratigraphic records mentioned are potential records that might appear in the future; they are based on predictions. Human structures, excavations, boreholes, bioturbation of soils (agriculture) and the sea floor (drag net fishing) are not strata. Made ground, refuse piles, mine dumps, and leach pads are made by humans rather than by natural sedimentation. The strata with records of anthropogenic change are speleothems, ice cores, and non-lithified sediments of rivers, marshes, lakes, coasts, and the ocean floor. In most of these depositional settings, it would be difficult to distinguish the upper few centimeters of sediment from the underlying Holocene, or sediment that has accumulated versus that that is in transit. Published logs with geochemical signatures of human impact are at most a few tens of centimeters thick (Nozaki et al., 1978; Al-Rousan et al., 2004; Marshall et al., 2007). Locating a boundary at 1945 would be difficult for anthropogenic isotope shifts in greenhouse gases that have been rising for 100 years or more (Wolff, 2014).

        http://www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/archive/26/3/article/i1052-5173-26-3-4.htm#toclink5

        A Silurian or Velociraptor “civilization” 400 or 70 million years ago wouldn’t have left much of a “mark” either. This, in no way, supports the notion that such civilizations could have existed… It just serves to put human civilization into a proper geological context.

      • The issue isn’t whether or not an advanced pre-human civilization existed. The issue is how well evidence of it would be preserved in the geologic record if it existed.

        A Silurian or Velociraptor “civilization” 400 or 70 million years ago wouldn’t have left much of a “mark” either.

        They cannot exist. The brain of birds and reptiles was not as evolved as our brain nowadays to create a technological civilization. Not enough pyramidal neurons and not enough synapses among said neurons.

        Where did you get the idea of a Velociraptor “civilization”?, from Hollywood?

      • The issue isn’t whether or not they could have existed.

        The issue is how well or poorly evidence of such civilizations would have been preserved in the geologic record if they had existed…

        The Silurian hypothesis: would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?

        Gavin A. Schmidt (a1) and Adam Frank (a2)
        https://doi.org/10.1017/S1473550418000095Published online: 16 April 2018

        If an industrial civilization had existed on Earth many millions of years prior to our own era, what traces would it have left and would they be detectable today? We summarize the likely geological fingerprint of the Anthropocene, and demonstrate that while clear, it will not differ greatly in many respects from other known events in the geological record. We then propose tests that could plausibly distinguish an industrial cause from an otherwise naturally occurring climate event.

      • It’s simply a “thought exercsie”…

        The naming of this idea comes from a 1970 Dr. Who episode where an ancient race of reptilians (“Silurians”) who had put themselves in hibernation to avoid a global catastrophe were awakened by experimental nuclear physics experiments. (I tried to find ‘prior art’ on pre-human terrestrial civilization that wasn’t based on notions of panspermia or ancient astronauts, but I haven’t yet been successful – anyone?). Needless(?) to say, we aren’t proposing any such occurrence (not least because the Silurian period is too early for the development of complex life on land).

        The ideas in the paper lead naturally to many lines of speculation, some of which are relevant to us today, and some of which are just interesting (to us at least). For instance, given that the more sustainable a civilization is, the smaller its geophysical footprint might be, what does that imply for the detectability of long-term civilizations? Does the onset of ocean anoxia at the end of many of these events suggest a possibility of cycle where the collapse of one civilization provides the seeds (fossil fuels) for the next?

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/04/the-silurian-hypothesis/

        The “beauty” of this thought exercise is that it puts another nail in the coffin of the proposal to have the Anthropocene as a formal epoch on the geologic time scale.

      • Coal is billions of years old. Even stainless steel would have rusted away to nothing long before now.

      • Most coal deposits are less than 300 million years old…

        There are some Precambrian graphite formations… But those aren’t really coal and not necessarily >1 billion years old.

      • What would a 300 million year old civilization fossil look like? To Gav, it would look exactly like what Dr. Mann told him to look for.

      • paul courtney April 17, 2018 at 10:50 am

        Hockey stick preservation is unlikely. For one thing, most of the Phanerozoic Eon has been a lot warmer than now, so ice was rare. Of course, an advanced technological civilization could create ice rinks. Wooden spears hundreds of thousands of years old have been found, but generally require bogs to be preserved.

      • David Middleton April 17, 2018 at 9:45 am
        The issue isn’t whether or not they could have existed.

        LOL, nope. The scientific fact is that no animal species had a brain capable of developing a technological society 300 million years ago.

        If you want to pose the question of how well preserved an hypothetical civilization that existed 300 million years ago would be, then that would be off-topic since that is not the subject of Gavin´s paper. It is fine with me If you want to go off-topic, it is not my blog. However, since you are a person who posts a lot as a guest blogger, I think you should stick to the topic. Yet, not my blog, my rules don’t apply.

        It would also be science-fiction. It is more like wondering how the future would be if we could travel faster than light. Interesting but not real science.

      • Urederra April 18, 2018 at 3:30 am

        LOL, nope. The scientific fact is that no animal species had a brain capable of developing a technological society 300 million years ago.

        You keep repeating the same Straw Man fallacy.  No one is suggesting that any pre-human “animal species had a brain capable of developing a technological society 300 million years ago” or at any other time in the past 4.5 billion years.

        Gavin’s hypothesis draws its name from the Silurians, a fictional civilization from Doctor Who.  The Silurian Period was 444-416 million years ago, a time when land animals first began to appear.

        The Silurian Period

        The Silurian (443.7 to 416.0 million years ago)* was a time when the Earth underwent considerable changes that had important repercussions for the environment and life within it. One result of these changes was the melting of large glacial formations. This contributed to a substantial rise in the levels of the major seas. The Silurian witnessed a relative stabilization of the Earth’s general climate, ending the previous pattern of erratic climatic fluctuations.

        Coral reefs made their first appearance during this time, and the Silurian was also a remarkable time in the evolution of fishes. Not only does this time period mark the wide and rapid spread of jawless fish, but also the highly significant appearances of both the first known freshwater fish as well as the first fish with jaws. It is also at this time that our first good evidence of life on land is preserved, such as relatives of spiders and centipedes, and also the earliest fossils of vascular plants.

        Life

        The Silurian is a time when many biologically significant events occurred. In the oceans, there was a widespread radiation of crinoids, a continued proliferation and expansion of the brachiopods, and the oldest known fossils of coral reefs. As mentioned earlier, this time period also marks the wide and rapid spread of jawless fish, along with the important appearances of both the first known freshwater fish and the appearance of jawed fish. Other marine fossils commonly found throughout the Silurian record include trilobites, graptolites, conodonts, corals, stromatoporoids, and mollusks.

        It is also in the Silurian that we find the first clear evidence of life on land. While it is possible that plants and animals first moved onto the land in the Ordovician, fossils of terrestrial life from that period are fragmentary and difficult to interpret. Silurian strata have provided likely ascomycete fossils (a group of fungi), as well as remains of the first arachnids and centipedes.

        […]

        UCMP

        The Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) suggested that the Silurians were misnamed and should have been called the Eocenes (56-40 million years ago). However, the fictional status of Silurians has nothing to do with Gavin’s hypothesis.

        Urederra April 18, 2018 at 3:30 am
        If you want to pose the question of how well preserved an hypothetical civilization that existed 300 million years ago would be, then that would be off-topic since that is not the subject of Gavin´s paper. It is fine with me If you want to go off-topic, it is not my blog. However, since you are a person who posts a lot as a guest blogger, I think you should stick to the topic. Yet, not my blog, my rules don’t apply.

        That is the topic of Gavin’s paper and this thread…

        The Silurian hypothesis: would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?
        Gavin A. Schmidt (a1) and Adam Frank (a2)
        https://doi.org/10.1017/S1473550418000095Published online: 16 April 2018

        If an industrial civilization had existed on Earth many millions of years prior to our own era, what traces would it have left and would they be detectable today? We summarize the likely geological fingerprint of the Anthropocene, and demonstrate that while clear, it will not differ greatly in many respects from other known events in the geological record. We then propose tests that could plausibly distinguish an industrial cause from an otherwise naturally occurring climate event.

        Gavin’s post on Real Climate…

        The Silurian Hypothesis (preprint) is the idea if industrial civilization had arisen on Earth prior to the existence of hominids, what traces would be left that could be detectable now? As a starting point, we explore what the traces of the Anthropocene will be in millions of years – carbon isotope changes, global warming, increased sedimentation, spikes in heavy metal concentrations, plastics and more – and then look at previous examples of similar events in the geological record. What is unique about our presence on Earth and what might be common to any industrial civilization? Can we rule out similar causes?

        Real Climate

        300 million years ago falls near the middle of the pre-hominid Phanerozoic Eon.  Although any time from 4.5 billion to about 6 million years ago would be applicable to Gavin’s hypothesis.

        Urederra April 18, 2018 at 3:30 am

        It would also be science-fiction. It is more like wondering how the future would be if we could travel faster than light. Interesting but not real science.

        Once again, you revert to the same Straw Man fallacy.  No one is suggesting that a pre-hominid technological civilization existed.  The point in Gavin’s paper is whether or not evidence of such a civilization would be clearly present in the geologic record.  Gavin did write a science fiction short story based on this hypothesis. The fictional pre-human civilization in Under the Sun existed during the Paleocene (66-56 million years ago).

      • Urederra writes: “It would also be science-fiction.”

        I believe the article is about a piece of science (speculative) fiction.

        “…but not real science.”

        Nothing prevents the use of real science, whatever exactly that is, in science fiction.

      • David Middleton April 18, 2018 at 5:03 am
        … No one is suggesting that any pre-human “animal species had a brain capable of developing a technological society 300 million years ago” or at any other time in the past 4.5 billion years.

        Yes, you are. Here:

        David Middleton April 17, 2018 at 1:07 am
        What would a 300 million year old civilization fossil look like?

        You want to “win” by exhaustion.

        This one is a keeper.

      • Good fracking grief! Learn how to read.

        The Silurian hypothesis: would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?
        Gavin A. Schmidt (a1) and Adam Frank (a2)
        https://doi.org/10.1017/S1473550418000095Published online: 16 April 2018

        If an industrial civilization had existed on Earth many millions of years prior to our own era, what traces would it have left and would they be detectable today? We summarize the likely geological fingerprint of the Anthropocene, and demonstrate that while clear, it will not differ greatly in many respects from other known events in the geological record. We then propose tests that could plausibly distinguish an industrial cause from an otherwise naturally occurring climate event.

        Gavin’s post on Real Climate…

        The Silurian Hypothesis (preprint) is the idea if industrial civilization had arisen on Earth prior to the existence of hominids, what traces would be left that could be detectable now? As a starting point, we explore what the traces of the Anthropocene will be in millions of years – carbon isotope changes, global warming, increased sedimentation, spikes in heavy metal concentrations, plastics and more – and then look at previous examples of similar events in the geological record. What is unique about our presence on Earth and what might be common to any industrial civilization? Can we rule out similar causes?

        Real Climate

    • I’ll actually support Dave here. How could we know if there was a sentient, technological dinosaur? The primary evidence I would use if that was the case would be evidence of total world domination. One mass species over the entire planet, subduing all other creatures.

      As for other evidence, stone or metalwork wouldn’t really last over eons. Ceramics might, but I’m not certain absence of evidence is sufficient over that span of time. Even artificial atoms from nuclear tools or weapons wouldn’t mean much, as they might be from uranium deposits and would half-life away.

      Another idea: One of the longest-lasting artifact of our technology will be our graveyards. The dead, if they manage to fossilize, clearly uneaten by scavengers, arranged neatly in rows (or in logical groupings, for those that use tombs), placed in the same position. Of course, this doesn’t work for any civilization that practices cremation or air burial. However, looking for a graveyard would probably be our best bet. It certainly requires fewer assumptions than SETI’s search.

      • How could we know if there was a sentient, technological dinosaur?

        Because we know enough about the structure of the brain, how it works and how it evolved to rule out the possibility of a sentient, technological dinosaur.

      • “How could we know if there was a sentient, technological dinosaur?”

        just a (singular) sentient, technological dinosaur? we probably wouldn’t. Such an anomaly could easily pass under the radar. a whole society of sentient, technological dinosaurs? there would be artifacts pointing to their existence. That we haven’t found any such artifacts suggests there never was such a society. Unless they were isolated to some remote corner of the world that we haven’t explored yet, it is highly likely that they never existed.

      • Urederra, I am a firm believer in the ignorance of experts, especially those claiming to know about functions of internal organs from only the bone structure and circumstantial evidence. Do I think it likely, no. However, this asks the question. How could we tell?

        John, now you are being ridiculous as well as ignoring the question. What artifacts could have survived multiple eons? No plastics or woodwork, definitely. Metalwork would have corroded, and stonework or ceramics would have eroded. Even canals might have been destroyed by plate tectonics.

        Come on, guys, if we’re going to do thought experiments, at least try and play the game.

      • Ben, I am not a computer expert but I know enough about microprocessors to discard the possibility of playing Fortnite on a Sinclair Spectrum.

        Here is the same problem, dinosaur brains were not evolved enough to create a technological society. And I am not talking about brain size, but about their internal structure. Looking at bone structures is only one of the tools used to study evolution, but there are many others. For instance, molecular phylogenetics uses genetic, hereditary molecular differences, predominately in DNA sequences to build phylogenetic trees.

        That way we can build a timeline of the evolutionary history of life, which goes from simple unicellular organisms to pluricellular organisms, from simple tissues to more intricate ones. The most developed organ is the brain, and the pyramidal neurones of the brain were one of the last subtypes of cells to appear in evolutionary history. You need a large amount of those highly interconnected neurones to have a brain capable of develop a technological society. That type of brain only appear on late mammals.

      • Ben, by your own logic since bones don’t survive eons (they would erode) we should have no remains of dinosaurs at all, and yet fossils exists. By that same token fossilized remains of artifacts would also be recoverable, if such a civilizations ever existed. No such artifacts have ever surfaced.

    • And that is exactly it. He is looking for another way to stay on the public payroll once his climate alarmism fades away. You’ve heard of diversifying your investment portfolio? Well he is apparently trying to diversify his grant application portfolio.

  19. So what about all the underground cities that abound in Turkey, Italy, Spain and the ME?
    These show evidence of both great antiquity, and the signs of being dug out using sophisticated excavating machinery.
    For example, check out the lost city of Petra in Jordan.

      • The underground cities you mention are also not that old, hundreds to thousands of years old.
        If you have evidence that they were dug out with anything other than shovels and picks, please present it.

  20. I notice the paper was in the Journal of Astrobiology. Schmidt was one of the 2 authors. Government money must have been spent on this. He has now gone one step too far . This will be his downfall. Once the public finds out that the head of a division of NASA (that has been putting out scare stories about global warming) is actually searching for the remnants of aliens on this planet, the true firestorm will begin and it it wont be warming that will heat his ass.

    • The editors of the Journal of Astrobiology and the reviewers are the true fools here, letting this drivel be printed.

  21. Why would you assume that an advanced civilization would be the same as ours?

    Suppose that a civilization became expert at biological processes. They would develop trees that would automatically grow into the shape of buildings. link Their food production and recycling could be accomplished in a square yard per ‘person’. They might be very healthy and happy, completely self sufficient, and because of advanced recycling, leave almost no trace of their existence.

  22. a perfectly acceptable thought exercise. what evidence would you have to find to falsify or disconfirm
    the hypothesis that humans are the first technologically advanced civilization on this planet?

    All evidence can be doubted ( because evidence is never proof; it is evidence), but it’s a good idea to sketch out what would make your change your mind about the conjecture that man is the first intelligent technologically advanced creature to inhabit this planet.

    • How to find answers in questions:

      “what evidence would you have to find to falsify or disconfirm the hypothesis that humans are the first technologically advanced civilization on this planet?”

      The answer, of course, is advanced technology that can be shown to precede the appearance of humans.

    • Wow, did YOU just say that?

      “All evidence can be doubted ( because evidence is never proof; it is evidence), but it’s a good idea to sketch out what would make your change your mind”

      And no evidence is enough for you to keep pushing the manmade global warming fantasy? While rejecting every skeptical argument against CO2 as a climate driver because there is no evidence of AGW and therefore no disaster looming?

      You really are a true believer. You are living proof that AGW is a religion.

      • Mosher is just a contrarian, what ever someone says he goes the opposite way. He might be better off if he went both ways.

      • MarkW: Good catch. We do not want to offend the contrarians who present as silurians. And vice-versa.

    • A graph that had not been adjusted would be enough to convince me. And if it had error bars…well, it would indicate true silurian-ness.

    • a perfectly acceptable thought exercise. what evidence would you have to find to falsify or disconfirm
      the hypothesis that humans are the cause of catastrophic climate change on this planet?

      Fixed that for ya Mosh.

  23. This is the QED in the disproof of AGW… The fictonal Anthropocene and the entire set of anthropogenic fingerprints are functions of resolution.

    If an industrial civilization had existed on Earth many millions of years prior to our own era, what traces would it have left and would they be detectable today? We summarize the likely geological fingerprint of the Anthropocene, and demonstrate that while clear, it will not differ greatly in many respects from other known events in the geological record. We then propose tests that could plausibly distinguish an industrial cause from an otherwise naturally occurring climate event.

    We don’t even break out of the Cenozoic noise level.

    • For Schmidt’s and Frank’s hypothesis of CO2 destroying early humans to be correct that would mean it happened around 50 million years ago. The problem is that they couldnt have come from outer space as the distances are just too far.

      Based on the CO2 and temp graphs that is when both were high. The dinosaurs appeared 240 million years ago. Man could not have appeared before that time cause evolution takes a longer time period than that. They could not have existed during the time of the dinosaurs (T- rex being one big reason why) Dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago so it couldnt have happened before that. So they had to evolve between 50 and 66 million years ago. 16 million years is not long enough to start from scratch to develop a society that was so advanced as to emit that much CO2.The fossil records do not show any mankind before 7.25 million years old. And yet we have good fossil records of the dinosaurs. So based on that logic the null hypothesis cannot be rejected. Therefore the whole idea is one unbelievably bad science study.

      • They aren’t hypothesizing that CO2 destroyed early humans or even that a pre-human advanced civilization existed.

        The hypothesis is that little or no evidence of a pre-human advanced civilization would be preserved in the geologic record. For the first time in his professional career, Gavin is right.

        The quality of the fossil record of dinosaurs is unkowable. We don’t know if we have discovered fossils of 90%, 50% or less than 1% of dinosaur species.

        https://m.phys.org/news/2015-08-good-bad-fossil-dinosaurs.html

      • Interstellar travel looks possible at least in principle.

        In the 1950s the Manhattan scientists developed Project Orion, a space ship propelled by atomic bombs. The most powerful design considered, the momentum limited H-bomb version, would have been capable of accelerating to a few percent of the speed of light then decelerating at the end of the journey – fast enough to travel to another star system in less than a human lifetime.

        A few tens of millions of years of this kind of technology would be long enough to colonise the galaxy.

      • Eric if intelligent life came here from a distant system then they would have colonised as they went along, in a similar way to the Pacific islanders .

        I have observed a UFO travelling at a speed beyond anything humans have built, obviously I have nothing more to say.

      • Alan Tomalty “If there is no evidence that would be preserved then why would you bother looking for it?”

        To confirm your assumption that no evidence was preserved. But it might just be an excuse to get out for a weekend of adventure.

      • The following is a direct quote from the paper.

        “Some similarities would be expected if the main effect during any event
        was a significant global warming, however caused. Furthermore, there is evidence at many of these
        events that warming was driven by a massive input of exogeneous (biogenic) carbon, either as CO2
        or CH4. ”

        Schmidt is trying to pin the huge amounts of CO2 in the past record to man. The problem is that there were too many different ages when CO2 was large. Gavin’s next thesis will be that there were many times when mankind disintegrated all caused by an advanced civilzation emitting too much CO2. Schmidt has now gone around the bend. Madness has set in. Ted Cruz should be alerted by this new development.

  24. Whilst this all seems (very) unlikely, we are looking at the idea of past civilisations as a replica of our own. In that resect we imagine them to have cars or computers or other physical items which would leave traces of their existence.

    Tales abound of places like Atlantis and if the peoples were mostly agrarian and life revolved round art rather than building advanced physical objects, then few traces may remain especially if we are talking about pre ice age. Mind you, for their not to be any traces would insinuate we are talking about a relatively few places and relatively few people.

    Do bear in mind that Gavin was a student at Oxford University and would have been exposed to many British sci fi series including Doctor Who and places like Stonehenge and Avebury are just down the road.

    tonyb

    • Looking for the Silurian demon industrialization-caused-failed-civilization…kinda’ like waiting for
      greenhouse in reverse. Why not look instead at the -on-the-record social-catastrophe due to
      famine, compounded by low energy, low tech means of production, Gavin?

      Famine throughout history has been a widespread and common occurrence. Wikipedia has
      collated a long list of famines from way back. There are the great famines of India, 1022-1033-
      1052, fer example, that wiped out entire provinces, the 1064 famine and outbreak of the plague
      in France which killed 100,000 people.In Europe in 1816-17, the year without a summer, 65000
      people died, and as recently as the 1840’s, four famines in China killed 45 million people.

      Check out the last famine in the West, post the Industrial Revolution, Gavin.

  25. Wow, too soon after the passage of Art Bell. “East of the Rockies we have Gavin S with confirmation of aliens from the Pleiades galaxy populating the earth long before the epoch of homo sapiens “

  26. I think that the postings above have not really thought this all the way through. (Naturally, I attribute great insight and analysis to myself.)
    Imagine a civilization on earth three hundred years from now.
    What buildings from the present era would they see?
    If they went into a library, (if they still exit), what books from today would still exist?
    If they were to consider out current history, what would their source of information be? Would they believe CNN or Fox?
    Or would they be looking at old hard drives, wondering what they are, and what they were for.
    The point is, that the further we are removed historically from events, the more their “reality” becomes based on speculation and interpretation of dubious bits of information.
    So in this context, maybe earth was once colonized by Martians; how would we know? What evidence would still exist to prove it one way or the other?

    • “What buildings from the present era would they see?”
      Hell, we can even detect mere holes from Stonehenge, you think in 300 years a civilization won’t find our cities, foundations of our building, subways and huge hole in mountains were roads are running, etc. ? If it doesn’t, it isn’t a “civilization”, then.
      We don’t know how to read “linear A”, but we can recognize it as a writing. You think in 300 years or even 300 000 years a civilization won’t be able to do that?

      Life leave traces. Bones, ceramics, dung… So does civilization and colonization. If some alien form space came, we would know by now. We would be one of them, actually, as no primate who mastered fire a few millennia ago would had been a match against a space-faring civilization.

      • So this then would go to my previous comment: what is the story about the vast underground cities?
        Apparently some of them have been dated to hundreds of thousands of years old.

      • William April 17, 2018 at 4:15 am

        No underground city has been dated to hundreds of thousands of years old by any valid method.

      • Chimp:
        No date in either archaeology or geology is reliable. The most charitable thing we can say is that such dates are the best guess based on wild speculation.
        As you are probably aware, archaeologists, geologists and egyptologists are still in wild disagreement as to the age of the Sphinx.
        Having said that, I have seen hollowed out granite mountains with attached staircases. Assuming that the granite weathered at around 2mm per thousand years (my estimate with absolutely no scientific foundation on my part), and the staircases started as square and horizontal, I have measured erosion as being around 45,000 years. I have measured window ledges at around 150,000 years and erosion channels in walls so badly degraded I couldn’t get any consistent measurement.
        Similarly, I have seen vehicle tracks imprinted in what must have been soft mud at the time, and is now hard granitic type rock. (harder than sandstone, but softer than granite using my knife to scratch it) The tracks show clear evidence of a vehicle passing by and pushing the mud up over the side of the channel as it passed. Some of these tracks show a bulldozer type tread pattern. I have no idea how to date these tracks.

    • If “The Greens” and “PETA” get their way then THAT is EXACTLY what will happen !
      “Humans are a cancer on the planet”………. apparently !
      ANNiHILATION and OBLITERATION is the least that can be expected !
      300 years of “Pol Pot” ( Cambodia or Khmer ) type LEADER-SHIP should do it nicely !
      9 billion is obscene ! 500 million is about right ! Any volunteers ?
      Intellectuals die first ! Followed by anyone else that may be useful or valuable to a society.
      Then BREED from the remnants of THAT and see what sort of “civilisation” you end up with !
      In 300 years time they wouldn’t know their knee from their elbow and questions about a previous
      civilisation simply would not occur to them ! So it really becomes a non-event !

    • MarkW:

      You could start with this link:

      Then go to Youtube and search on “ancient underground cities Turkey”; you will get over 65,000 hits.

      These are in addition to the ones I have visited in Spain, Italy, and Turkey.

  27. The difficulty about the PETM as a big extinction is that it wasn’t. Practically nothing went extinct except some benthic foraminifera (bottom living micro iorganism).
    Contrariwise most life-forms proliferated and spread like never before or since. A surprisng proportion of all living animal groups first show up during the PETM.

  28. If an alien species that was technologically advanced enough to cross space from somewhere else ever arrived on Earth the question might be why did they leave or what happened to them? My theory is that they were living out the last days of their civilisation after their eco-loons persuaded them to give up technology because of climate change (sarc) on their home planet and a few last desperate refugees from this madness managed to escape in their vegetable fibre spacecraft to Earth, promptly to be wiped out by (take your pick) Toba, asteroid, boredom etc. Perhaps Schmidt should be careful what he wishes for.

    Of course it is true that most museums do have some very odd things that turn up from time to time. But don’t forget the wicked students in the 19th century who made some crazy fossils to play a practical joke on their professor, who sadly completely fell for it to his acute public embarrassment.

    William – Petra is not a lost city and we know exactly who lived there and when – it wasn’t alien life, just a people called the Nabateans.

    It would be great to find some real evidence for alien contact and great fun speculating, but nothing convincing has yet turned up. At least, just to add to the general paranoia, nothing we’ve been told about…but it’s no good being paranoid, they’ll get you if they want to….

    • My reference to Petra relates to the fact that it is estimated that less than 1% of the site has been excavated.
      It is known that the constructions go several stories underground, and extend over several square miles; not just the piddly bit that is shown to the tourists.
      Nobody knows who constructed these buildings; however it is known that they were occupied by several waves of settlers over the millennia.
      Furthermore, examination of the interior surfaces show the characteristics of power saw cuttings, angle grinder smoothing and rotary excavator digging. Assuming a rate of erosion of exposed surfaces of 2-3mm per thousand years, these buildings at Petra could be hundreds of thousands of years old.

  29. Folks are confusing technology with intelligence. Humans have domesticated fire. Largely to compensate for our weaknesses. It is unlikely we will see Dolphins domesticate fire no matter how smart they are. Yet they appear smart enough to never have invented debt and taxes.

  30. Why assume the advanced civilization was carbon based. The most abundant element on the earths surface is silicon. The same stuff we make solar panels and computer chips out of.

    All that sand you see on the beach. It is the remains of a vast civilization of solar powered AI robots that once inhabited the earth. Look no further the evidence is everywhere hiding in plain sight.

  31. What is it about crustaceans as a vanished civilisation in contemporary fantasy fiction? Pratchett had Crabs, while Fforde has Lobsters…

  32. Darnit, darnit, darnit. I warned them Silurians. I begged them. I said: “Get yourselves some CFLs and some carbon credits, and we’ll settle this whole thing down.” But did they listen? Nooooo. So now they have cooked their young lizard selves, and nobody is the wiser.

    **********

    You can see where this is going, can’t you? If they can find the slimmest, tiniest, merest fragment of an intimation that this wild theory of Silurian environmental suicide is true, then they will use it to justify their current set of fantasies: “See, it happened before, and now we’re doing it again . . . we’ve GOT to do something . . . if nothing else, then to prove we’re smarter than lizards.”

    ***********

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be astonished to discover that what we’re witnessing here is the afterglow of a “three pipe problem” . . . and I’m not talking tobacco.

    • He has a model that shows a couple of extinction events that couldn’t be due to anything else (someone suggested asteroids but we put the DOJ on to them). It projected that we would find ancient writing that showed far superior technology than today and the evidence found so far is within 95% CI (now that we are 95% certain rather than 90%). We should find the remaining evidence long after I have died from obesity on a Bermuda beach.

  33. Please, don’t mention Dr Who. He has been turned into a tranny by the SJW running the BBC. They should never have been allowed to reboot the show, which was killed off originally in 1989.

  34. Of course there were previous civilisations that exceeded our own in development! Otherwise we would not be finding out of place artifacts. OOPART it is called.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/17-out-of-place-artifacts-said-to-suggest-high-tech-prehistoric-civilizations-existed_1767391.html

    Some existed so long ago all traces of them have disappeared due to the way the Earth recycles its continents. Given the number of tools found in coal mines and limestone, the default position has to be that such civilisations existed. CO2 will not have wiped them out because CO2 has too little influence on the atmosphere. It is far more likely a nuclear incident or asteroid was the cause of their demise.

    And who is to say that the ‘aliens’ are not in fact people who departed this planet for other worlds long ago?

    The idea that ‘Man” evolved a few tens of thousands of years ago is incompatible with the physical proofs of earlier well-developed technological civilisations. The Texas hammer and the Oklahoma iron pot are very unlikely to have formed underground spontaneously or by someone brought here using an Improbability Drive.

    • I hope to heck that you are being sarcastic and haven’t been taken in by that nonsense.
      What the heck is out of place about a 2000 year old battery or Chinese earthquake detector.
      Most of the rest are easily explainable geologic processes. I couldn’t force myself to go all they way down that list of nonsense.

  35. A british, german and french archeologist were discussing recent findings in their respective countries. The german says that they dug to a depth of ten metres, found remnants of copper wire and concluded that Germany had a telephone system 10.000 years ago.
    The brit says they went down to twenty metres, found some thin glass strains and announced that UK had fiber optical transmission 20.000 years ago.
    The french informed that they had gone all the way down to fifty metres, found absolutely nothing which of course proved that France had wireless communication at least 50.000 years ago!

  36. They really have not read ss much SF as they should have.
    This topic has been explored many timed by fiction wriyersuch more capable than these clowns.

  37. No, no, no, we’ve got it all wrong. A previous civilization many millions of years ago existed, but it succumbed to The Stupid. The Stupid is a force afflicting mankind today, which wants to bring civilization down, and back to the Stone Age by attacking a phantom menace, fossil fuels, which is actually our friend. In an Age of Stupid, stupidity is revered, the stupider the better. Science becomes a mockery of itself, such that those standing in opposition to The Stupid are deemed “anti-science” and “d nayers” (a word so terrible it has to be disguised). If CAGS (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Stupidity) happened before, then traces of it must exist, leaving Stupid footprints. I’m guessing that back then, though, there was no internet. I mean really, using sand to distribute information, and on a massive scale? Absurd.
    Today we do have the internet though, which may just save us from The Stupid afflicting modern civilization.
    We can only hope.

    • It used to be spelled ‘Teh Stoopid’. One of the symptoms of ‘Teh Stoopid’ is that those infected frequently barf up screed with flecks of bullshite in it.

      The pandemic briefly waned as libtard eco-whackos took up the ‘don’t have kids to save the planet’ meme and thus fewer people susceptible to ‘Teh Stoopid’ were born. It was hoped at one time that the last few remaining libtards would die out from lack of breeding, and the planet will finally be rid of ‘Teh Stoopid’ once and for all.

      But another of the symptoms of their disease is a compulsion to infect the young with ‘Teh Stoopid’ by barfing screed flecked with bullshite onto their brains… it’s an orally-transmissible infection, so it’s only natural that the libtard eco-whackos would become teachers and professors.

      The only way to inoculate your children against ‘Teh Stoopid’ is to give them strong doses of reality daily and to teach them not to kowtow to so-called ‘experts’… because those so-called ‘experts’ are, generally speaking, those most infected with ‘The Stoopid’.

  38. In the late 60’s there was Ericn Von Daniken and his bood “Chariots of the Gods” presented the “theory” that earth was visited by ancient astrononauts (who inspired god legends). He presented a number of ahistorical artifacts and artistic works that could be interpreted to show advanced technology. I would guess his “evidence” as bad as it was – still would not support the greater age of the silurians.

    But a big difference between Daniken’s ancient astronauts and the Gavin’s silurians is that the ancient astronauts were limited visitors while the siluraians were home based. This would mean that tsigns of the much older and more widespread earthly civilization would have many more opportunities to turn up. Cemeteries, food containers, infrastructure, garbage, shelters for large civilizations – true most artificats would dissapear accross time but not all. We find bees in amber, jellyfish in rocks, fozzilized bones, petrified trees, crater impacts but the byproducts of silurians not so much. So we are supposed to imagine intelligent silurian beings that both catastrophically over utilized fossil fuel and also left behind a very clean campsite.

    • Here’s an alternative fairy tale – The earth fostered the evolution of an advanced civilization of of highly intelligent silurains. Initiially they used fossil fuels to support their development and advancement. Over time technology continued to improve so they got better and better technology with lincreasingly lower environmental footprints over time. Due to the long standing continual march of progress they were eventually able to completely clean up all signs of their environmental footprint on the earth. They continued to minimize their footprints on the earth and they eventually transformed into beings that were not dependent on matter but maintained a non-physical civilization that exists today with zero impact on the environment. As a result we can find no trace of them. But if we did it would likely be somthing minor that just got overlooked by their cleanup campaign.

      Catastrophically polluting silurians and technological “clean” silurians are both fairy tales and at this point they don’t do anything but provide a potential narrative for true beleivers. No one with sense would promote either as deserving attention as a potential historical event that should impact our decision making at this time. The course of previous civiliations does not tell us how fossil fuels impact civiliations.

      I do beleive our civilization can use technology to transition from fossil fuels at an APPROPRIATE time and that we will continue to support “cleaner and cleaner” environments. I don’t think we will be able to jump to non-physical beings though and that will always allow rom for some to bemoan our impact on the environment, push guilt and forsee some sort of “catastrophic” doom.

      • Actually Vernor Vinge speculated on something similar happening to humanity called “the singularity”.
        In his excellent book, “Marooned in Real Time” his characters seek to unravel the mystery of humanity’s fate.
        And there is even a deranged Archaeologist who seeks to exterminate humanity in order to preserve his pristine archaeological sites for posterity….
        Sort of like modern climatologists….

  39. My sf hypothesis is that the silurians were symbiotes, unable to survive on their own, and they are still with us.
    Very intelligent but with no technology other than they could get their hosts to create. They motly had the appearance of pointy shaped beards or smug smiles and one of their main survival techniques was to reign back their hosts, to create a pool of sheep.
    Goats were their most recent preferred hosts but who know where they will infest next?

  40. “The presence of artificial isotopes is not necessarily the fingerprint of the nuclear technology of an ancient pre-human civilisation. ”
    Give me a break. Iguanas falling frozen out of trees in Florida is a fingerprint of global warming to these people.

  41. Well I found a copy of the paper and they concluded with

    While we strongly
    doubt that any previous industrial civilization existed before our own, asking the question in a
    formal way that articulates explicitly what evidence for such a civilization might look like raises
    its own useful questions related both to astrobiology and to Anthropocene studies. Thus we hope
    that this paper will serve as motivation to improve the constraints on the hypothesis so that in
    future we may be better placed to answer our title question.

    Since when was a paper that summarized other papers considered worthy of publishing, anyway?

    The rest of the paper was all yeah but no but yeah. Gavin has really fallen now. He’s taking another delusion path like Hansen took with his “If we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there’s a substantial chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.” statement.

    Maybe its a prerequisite for the job.

  42. Why does Schmidt et al get any attention for such trivial “studies”? Where is ANY evidence?

    The article is also in Universe Today, which is a marxist-leaning astronomy site (how astronomy can lean marxist, it’s hard to understand, but they do it somehow).

    PS — Why does Schmidt look almost exactly like Mann?

  43. Okay, okay, okay. You’ve all got it wrong. I know what Gavin is up to.
    The real Gavin has been cloned and he’s locked in a small closet some place.
    The Gavin Clone is a reptilian duplicate that thinks like the Silurians but looks like us, just as the Kardashians got plastic surgery to disguise their real appearance.

    This Gavin Snake Clone is testing us to see who is a dupe or a Shtuupe, and who isn’t. Once that’s determined, the invasion begins.

    We’ve been warned. Check your pantry for wide egg noodles and dry chicken broth. Buy some of that freeze-dried veg and fruit stuff, ’cause you’re gonna need it. That, and tabasco sauce, because that stuff make them explode like mosquitoes.

    The Snakes are real. They’re here (the Kardashians) and they’re real (Gavin Clone) and they’re just waiting for the right moment to start raids. The “War of the Worlds” was just a preview of what’s to come, flaming passenger train and all.

    Not sure, but I think they can be bribed with chocolate chip cookies, corn chips and cheap red CA wine, if you change the price tag on the bottle.

    • Wait… Gavin Schmidt is a Kim Kardashian clone? Something went horribly awry in the cloning process.

  44. As someone pointed out. The earths crust is recycled about every two million years. The tiny fraction that hasn’t been recycled is severally eroded. If human kind went extinct today, there would be almost nothing to say we had ever existed in less than one million years, except radio isotopes and the odd scattered bone. I have read some amazingly ignorant, and stunningly arrogant comments about human civilization and survival written here. Y’all need to get a clue. Humans have only been around for a few million years. Some day we will go extinct. Shortly after that in geologic terms there will be almost no trace that we were ever here. If there ever was an industrial civilization that came before us. It could have ended only a short time ago . Say just two million years, and there would be no trace left in practical terms. Even if it had been human and only 400,000 years ago there would be little evidence past soil anomalies, and the odd “out of place” stone or refined metal. If they were only slightly different, and say, didn’t use Atomic Energy. There might be little to suggest that they were ever there at all.

  45. Is that what’s coming? Is someone actually going to try and say that the evidence of much warmer ancient temperatures were the result of fossil fuel burning intelligent life?
    If so, it will be CAGW’s ‘jump the shark’ moment.

  46. Cue the “Twilight Zone”………

    It is so absurd that only knuckledragging drooling eco loonies can identify with the fantasy.

  47. It is pretty obvious what is going on. It can be only one of two things.

    Option One: Gavin is trying to start his own church of Scientology like cult by “finding” a previous advanced civilization.

    Option Two: This is a subtle attempt to create a pretext for explaining away the large amount of CO2 in the record, associating it in the public conscience with global warming. After all, the historical record is the number one reason that people capable of critical thinking reject AGW theory, so if you can introduce a sufficient lie you may be able to change some people’s minds. At the very least you create a pretext for minimizing and calling into question the historical record.

    • Option Three: Gavin is trying to justify the formal adoption of the Anthropocene Epoch… It backfired and he doesn’t even know it…

      If an industrial civilization had existed on Earth many millions of years prior to our own era, what traces would it have left and would they be detectable today? We summarize the likely geological fingerprint of the Anthropocene, and demonstrate that while clear, it will not differ greatly in many respects from other known events in the geological record. We then propose tests that could plausibly distinguish an industrial cause from an otherwise naturally occurring climate event.

      If the Anthropocene would be indistinguishable from otherwise naturally occurring climate events, it doesn’t merit adoption as a word, much less part of the geologic time scale.

  48. The only way such a civilization could have existed and disappeared without leaving a trace, is if it was confined to the Antarctic land mass during a time when it was mostly ice-free. It seems extremely unlikely that a sufficiently advanced civilization capable of creating industry which would release the vast amounts of CO2 they claim would destroy such a civilization, would have no interest in exploring the rest of the globe incidentally leaving some trace of its existence in the fossil record. But, hey, what a cool science-fantasy idea!

      • Gavin Schmidt did H. P. Lovecraft one better… he’s tunneled into the Mountain of Madness, and when he finally emerges out the other side, he’ll tell everyone that time is circular and we ARE the ancient Silurians… and we destroyed ourselves in the ancient past / will destroy ourselves in the future, both of which are only one event which keeps recurring like some Groundhog Day gone mad. He’ll claim our very existence proves his hypothesis! Then he’ll fabricate the data to corroborate his story.

    • An technological civilization in Antarctica say, 35 million years ago would have had very good reasons to maximize the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere!

  49. Puma punku in Peru is close. The H blocks are remarkably precise and look to me like they came out of a C&C machine. Dating back many thousands of years (and perhaps longer), it’s extremely unlikely that the technology of the time was capable of constructing it.

  50. Liberals, even those with science degrees, seem to want to share fantasies with other liberals. This could explain Gavin’s latest nonsense. Most liberals have difficulty telling the real from the unreal. Even highly educated ones. My brother-in-law is a Prof emeritus historian and has been a seethingly angry Marxist.
    To look at the bright side:
    Liberals, in the 1960s and 70s really believed in astrology, and in that “space” were relatively harmless. Back then, when first meeting, they would ask for your “sign”. Responding with ” Scorpio”, they would look at you sincerely and wisely nod their head.
    Perhaps their focus can be changed back to harmless.
    Bob Hoye

    • “What’s that like, being a Scorpio?” I was asked.

      “It’s very difficult to describe; and no offence intended, it is impossible to describe to an Aquarius … “.

      Uncomfortable silence from the Gemini and Libra; quiet laughs from the Cancer.

      The conversation then ended.

  51. Sounds like Schmidt is playing the reverse logic pivot on us.

    Obviously, there is no past civilization level in the record but, also obviously, future archeologists would certainly find the “human” civilization layer. It would be easy.

    He is just trying to force us to “remind ourselves” how much we are impacting the planet.

    • You give him too much credit, Bill.

      My take on Gavin’s behaviour here is that he has an idea (ie The Silurian hypothesis) and then goes looking for evidence to support it. There is no actual evidence of course and he reasons that it’d be wiped away by time, unlike the actual fossils we do find.

      When we find dinosaur sized Doc Martin footprints from 65M years ago, then I’ll believe him.

      • ” he has an idea (ie The Silurian hypothesis) and then goes looking for evidence to support it”

        That’s modern day climate science (as practiced by the warministas) in a nutshell.

  52. Was L Ron Hubbard a con man turned SiFi writer, or was he a SiFi writer turned con man?

    Would L. Ron Hubbard be proud of Gavin Schmidt, or would he laugh at the inept hack and take away his wife/girlfriend (if he had one)?

    • @DonM re L. Ron Hubbard: yes he was. Both. He published science fiction in the 1950s. I have several old issues of Analog with stories of his in them. He had a series in which the protagonist was a doctor roaming from planet to planet with a four-armed servant who was, I kid you not, made of gypsum. His “Dianetics” article was published in Analog; I have a copy of that issue too. Then DIanetics became Scientology and he disappeared from SF for a while, re-emerging with Battlefield Earth. Some sociologist should write a thesis on parallels and contrasts between CAGW and Scientology.

  53. Well, hell, I guess we were all planted by aliens now, too.
    I hesitate to make sarcastic remarks like that – it just reinforces the eco-nut totem that we are an invasive species with no right to live on the planet.

  54. It’s more likely people rose to the level of incompetence and foolishness we see now, everything was on computers and the society collapsed due to an EMT or simple inability to maintain a modern society. All information was lost when the EMT went off or the digital record was destroyed, so there’s no record. It could have happened dozens of times. That’s more plausible than Gavin’s fiction.

  55. The human yearning to connect with other intelligent life-forms runs deep

    That’s because there’s so little intelligent life among humans to begin with.

  56. As a Geologist, it strikes me the number one thing humans are going to leave behind in the geologic record is actually an absence – an absence of economic concentrations of natural resources! Most economic mineral deposits occur in certain geological environments. If humans were erased and a new intelligent race came along, they’d also work out where these deposits *should* be – and in their place, find voids infilled with lithified (formerly) unconsolidated rocks and stuff… To date, we have never found an ‘absence’ of resource defined by unconsolidated rocks. The oldest mines only date back a few 1000 years so I would posit there has been no advanced race on this planet so adept at extracting resources on as massive scale as humans are today.

    • There was one absence I’m aware of, the natural nuclear reactor. It was discovered because nuclear authorities were required by law to investigate the unexpectedly low availability of U235 in samples mined from the site of the reactor – they had to prove that someone hadn’t stolen a whole pile of U235.

  57. Well now, Gavin, you’d just have to wax all sciency & stuff, now wouldn’t you:

    “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.”

    Yeah. You “Might See” that your climate has been in a continual state of flux from day one. Yes, it is fascinating. But apparently not to you! Despite the geologic record slapping you in the face while revealing its secrets, none of it has gotten through to you. You are determined to force-find ANY evidence to try and fuel your rotten little hypothesis, despite the abundance of evidence for well-established theory oozing out of every outcrop.

  58. Dolphins! “So Long and Thanks For All The Fish”.

    For poor Gavin a species that did NOT leave any physical evidence of it’s existence must be an advanced alien technology because it IS indistinguishable from magic … just like his beloved global warming er climate change.

    Ha ha

  59. No doubt Dr Schimdt is exploring careers posit-GISS by examining a SciFi writing role.

    Let’s help him find it.
    Defund GISS.
    MAGA. Trump!

  60. “It’s unlikely that any massive telltale structures would remain preserved through tens of millions of years of geological activity—that holds true for both human civilization and any potential “Silurian” precursors on Earth.”

    The idea that an advanced civilisation would spring into existence without leaving traces of its development is farcial beyond comprehension, even across millions of years.

    Any prior civilisation would leave traces of its rise from using pointed sticks, moving on to sharpened stones, pottery, early metal alloys, iron and steel and all the infrastructure that requires, roads, cities and so on.

    Perhaps massive structures might not survive but the footings would, erosion resistant bricks and corrosion resistant metal alloys. And piles of debris, the garbage dumps of the civilization.

    An interesting exercise but I hope it was carried out in their spare time and not at taxpayers’ expense.

  61. Considering all the paleontological related artifacts that have been uncovered to date it would seem unlikely that there was a previous age of some type of civilization on Earth that we have so far found no evidence of.

  62. I’m with Gavin on this one! Why not a previous habitation of earth by “Lizard People”. You need to just keep your mind open to the possibilities!

    In the era of dominance by the Lizard People, their genetic modifications got out of hand and created dinosaurs. Then in their playful ways they cross bred with their pet chickens and rabbits thus the ostrich and kangaroo were created. In other parts of the world their playfulness with their pet pigs led to the creation of elephants which ended up with a lizard tail on the wrong end but they still called it a trunk. Crocodiles were created as a result of inbreeding within the families of the Lizard people. As a result of all this inbreeding and playfulness the children of the Lizard people were kept in small cages where they evolved to escape through small openings whence the snake evolved.

    So with all the issues as a result of their playfulness with other species the Lizard People lay low for a long time until they could make a comeback as politicians and academics as well documented by university educated sleuths.

  63. Why were people wittering on about the Silurian people when the story explicitly says FIFTY-FIVE MILLION YEARS AGO? This is the Ypresian period in the Eocene, long after the death of the dinosaurs. Schmidt’s palaeocivilisation would have been mammals.

    Honestly, the story is a moderately competent piece of science fiction. The principal character is cardboard, The science is a bit iffy: the half-life of PCBs in the environment is 3 to 210 DAYS depending on what kind of PCB and what the conditions are. Most people don’t know that (I didn’t) and won’t look it up (I did). It’s also pretty derivative; I’ve read quite a few paleocivilisation stories (including one that explained the iridium layer as a civilisational marker) and any number where the humans figure out what killed off another civilisation just as we succumb to something similar. And of course the dismal ending was telegraphed quite early on. But it’s not bad. I think that Schmidt has a future in writing science fiction.

Leave a Reply - if your comment doesn't appear right away, it may have been intercepted by the SPAM filter. Please have patience while our moderation team examines it.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s