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Re: mass extinctions and DDT
An old question I would like to reintroduce:
"If human beings were to become extinct in the next 500 years due to
global warming, pestilence or other catastrophy, what if anything
would remain of our civilization to reveal us to the next
superspecies, 65 million years from now?"
Sounds like you've been watching "The Planet of the Apes" a lot.
Its an interesting question- the reshuffling of biogeography
would be the biggest biotic impact. We'd probably leave a lot of
other traces. 2 x 4s, plywood, particle board, shipwrecks, telephone
poles and shingles would preserve as coalified and silicified wood.
Cinder blocks, bricks, concrete hunks of skyscraper, old chunks of
freeway would preserve pretty much as they were. Glass- windows,
beads, bottles, old telephone insulators, obsidian arrowheads- would
remain, as would ceramics: pottery shards, broken dishes, roofing
tiles, bathroom tiles, teapots, sinks, bathtubs. Offhand I'd guess
that in the right chemical conditions, metals and plastics would also
preserve. Not to mention that small but probably detectable levels of
chemical residue would remain in the sediments- things like
industrial by-products, fossil fuel residues, heavy metals, fallout
from all those H-bomb tests over the years. Finally, ourselves- since
we tend to bury ourselves, that gives us a big headstart on entering
the fossil record. It might not be that abundant after 65 million
years, but some of it would enter the geological record, and it would
be pretty hard for a geologist to ignore this kind of stuff-
conglomerates made of cinderblocks and the like.
The thought of future paleontologists yelling at each other
over the proper system of taxonomy for coke bottles and toilet bowls
is just hilarious.
"Oh I was wrong/It was Earth all along/You've finally made a monkey out of
-Planet of the Apes: The Musical; as featured on The Simpsons