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Dinoarchaeology (long, semi-silly)



Bernard Couet wrote:
> 
> Some heretical thoughts/questions:
> 
> - what could be found in the far future (65 millions years) from our
>    civilization if earth was shot tomorrow by a big meteor impact?

One way to look at it -
In an advanced civilization, for each "mass unit per individual" X, you have
a mass of technological artifacts *greater than* X. (I.e, suppose the
average person weighs 100kg [doesn't have to be a "human being" person -
could be some other species - Martians, Troodon sapiens, whatever]. For each
person, there's also a mass of technological artifacts - cars, lawn chairs,
soup cans, jumbo jets, ugly lamps, - also bits of factories to build these
things and transportation system to ship them. Say (we'll be conservative)
that the mass of techno-artifacts per person is 10*X, or 1,000 kg in our
example.

Now, we definitely have remains of actual individual creatures from Mesozoic
and even older (no argument so far, I hope), and bone is reasonably fragile
and biodegradable as materials go (when's the last time you tripped over a
deer skeleton?). Therefore since techno-stuff is generally *more* durable
than bone (think about it: we think of steel as something that rusts away,
but bury it and...   Right now there are people studying Scipyonyx' *liver*
- which material do you think is more likely to leave traces?), we'd expect
to find artifacts MORE often than bones of individuals. (For every ancient
human skeleton we find, how many crates of spearheads and pot-shards do we
have?)

For what it's worth, several writers who've used the "dinosaur civilization"
theme have had their dino-people use a biologically-based technology rather
than "artifact-based" like ours so it wouldn't leave traces. Personally I
suspect we could spot that, too (when somebody digs up the skeleton of a
bulldog 10,000,000 years from now, there are going to be a lot of
researchers who think it's an artificial rather then a natural species.)

"Matt D. Celeskey" <mceleskey@cabq.gov> wrote:

> I always thought that pterodactyloids might make decent candidates for
this sort
> of speculation. A flightless pterosaur would have a relatively large brain,
> plantigrade feet and ape-like posture.

Cool! Never thought of this one -

> P.S.: Didn't someone recently mention the suggestion that primates evolved
from
> flightless bats?

FYI there are a couple sci-fi novels by Rebecca Ore which I find excellent
for their very believable portraits of nonhuman beings - _Becoming Alien_
and _Being Alien_ - in which one of the types of extraterrestrials are
human-sized flightless bats - and act like it. Recommended.


Jeffrey Willson <jwillson@harper.cc.il.us>