A Philosopher's Blog

Pre-Human Civilizations

Posted in Science by Michael LaBossiere on February 25, 2008

A while ago I saw the History Channels interesting show on Life After People. I had also read articles on the subject of what would happen to our buildings and works after our time came to an end.

Interestingly, the remains of our civilization would be almost completely eradicated in about 50,000 years. While this seems like a long time, when compared with the estimated age of the earth (4 billion years give or take a few million) and even the origins of our own species (3-6 million years) it is but a blink in time.

Since I like science fiction, I started thinking about what another intelligent species would find if they were to come to earth after our fall. Then I started thinking about whether or not it is possible that we are not the first intelligent species to arise on earth.

Since we are here, we know that intelligent species can arise here. We also know that intelligent species can go extinct. After all, the Neanderthals were apparently quite close to us in capabilities and they passed from the stage of history. So, the idea that a pre-human race could arise and fall is not an impossibility.The fact that the earth has had billions of years to produce such a species also is a point in favor of the hypothesis that it could have happened before.

The obvious problem is, laying aside various conspiracy theories about government cover ups, that no evidence exists of any pre-human intelligent species. As such, claims about the existence of such a species would be pure speculation. However, the lack of evidence for such a species is not conclusion evidence against the claim that there was such a species.

First, consider the fossil record. We as of yet have no fossils that suggest the existence of a pre-human intelligent species. However, intelligent beings are generally good at avoiding situations that tend to produce fossils. Further, such fossils might have existed or might even exist now. We have hardly explored the earth thoroughly enough to be able to claim we have a complete picture of the past. In those gaps in our knowledge might exist a space for an intelligent species.

Second, consider the ruins. We have been able to dig up the ruins of ancient Troy and even much older settlements. It could be argued that if an intelligent race had existed before us, we would find the remains of their civilization. This is a reasonable concern and, obviously, without such evidence the claim that such a species existed would be unsupported. But, given how quickly the evidence of our own civilization would vanish, there is reason to think that such a species could have risen and fallen. Their buildings and works (assuming they were like us in this regard) could have long crumbled to unrecognizable dust.

Naturally, my claim is not that such a species did exist. My claim is much weaker-the evidence is such that such a species could have existed. Sadly, it seems likely that even if they did exist, then their story shall never be known to us or anyone else. Someday, perhaps, long after the end of humanity, some other species will be asking the same questions and wondering if anyone came before them.

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74 Responses

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  1. logicfreak said, on March 2, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    “Naturally, my claim is not that such a species did exist. My claim is much weaker-the evidence is such that such a species could have existed.”

    Just repeating the logic, the author says that no evidence for whatever unknown is evidence (!!!) for this whatever could have existed. I am missing only one thing: why this whatever is intelligent species?

    • Anonymous said, on August 27, 2011 at 10:02 pm

      Read the book The World Without Us – by Alan Weisman. He argues that while almost everything would disappear after 50,000 years some artifacts would remain for a long time afterwards. For humans, nuclear waste and plastics (although in near microscopic forms) will be around for many millions of years. Also, statues made of stone and simple metals have the potential to last a long while.

      So any search for pre-human civilizations will have to search for the “debris” of such civilizations. we’d have to be creative and try to search for statistically meaningful residue of what could be unnaturally manufactured material, such as silicon or polymer material. Not as sexy as finding the lost city of R’lyeh, but any sort of confirmation of pre-human civilizations would be a paradigm shifting experience.

      • sumday said, on September 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm

        Well there is a place in India that appears to be a nuclear blast site from about 50-60K yrs ago that still has high radiation levels (Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro)- Also there is a mine in Africa that was found to be mined for Uranium and appears to have trace residue showing that there was a nuclear fusion at that site (the Oklo deposit in Gabon). Also there are the Nazca lines. There are huge stone structures that even our most strongest cranes today could not pick up (Puma Punku and Tiahuanaco). Neanderthals had a bigger brain capacity than us. There are human like skulls found in South America that have cone shaped skull which gave them a larger brain. Just saying while there is no direct evidence of intelligent life before humans there do appear to be some anomalies that leave the door slightly cracked.
        Personally I’m not sure what would be left after 50K yrs or so? All metals would eventually rust, radioactive sites could be explained away as meteorite/comet sites, plastics would become brittle and turn to dust. I mean the oldest man made structure is the pyramids and they are in decline and will not last forever. I’m just not sure if anything recognizable would survive that couldn’t be explained away.
        On the other hand there is another possibility- why do we assume that intelligent life would develop and create technology? Suppose an intelligent life existed before humans that where say telepathic (no need for phones or computers), and could communicate/understand animals whose goal was self sustaining instead of profit driven. We think we are intelligent bc of the things we build, but that is to ignore intelligence that is self sustaining. Suppose the “other people” were master farmers who cared and understood the earth and it’s cycles would they still be considered less intelligent than us bc they were self sufficient and sustaining rather than self destructive and violent? Being able to communicate/understand animals means you could just tell the squirrels where to bury the seeds for you, and tell the deer’s not to eat your plants, or the lions not to eat you lol. We estimate Neanderthals to have lived some 400K yrs then presume that they evolved into us, but what if it was more of a de-evolution were we lost our ability to communicate with animals, and to understand the earth/plants? I know farfetched but just an interesting theory to think about. Ever see the movie avatar? If we found a species like those big blue guys would we call them less, equal, or more intelligent than us and why?

        • Beatniko said, on November 24, 2013 at 6:34 am

          Thoughtful post. thank you sir

    • Anonymous said, on September 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      The author is just saying that because there is no evidence for or against X, then it is possible that X is true. Basically, this is the same logic behind agnosticism.

  2. mlabossi said, on March 2, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    No, I’m not claiming that the the lack of evidence is evidence for the claim. That would be the fallacy of appeal to ignorance. My argument is this:

    1. Intelligent races (humans and Neanderthals) have arisen on earth.
    2. There is excellent reason to believe that the evidence of a civilization would be eliminated within thousands of years (50,000+).
    3. The earth is about 4 billion years old.
    Therefore, another intelligent species could have appeared before humanity arose, fallen and then the evidence could have simply eroded away.

    So, it is not impossible that another intelligent race arose in the past.

  3. Someoneee said, on March 12, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    Just want to say.. I love your thoughts… And they get me thinking. You should be proud to be an anonymous inspiration to many. :)

  4. Michael LaBossiere said, on March 13, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Thanks!

  5. Pre-Human Civilizations | ZAVibes said, on March 13, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    [...] post: Michael LaBossiere RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL Write a [...]

  6. DirtyHarry said, on March 31, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Hello,
    I loved to read your post, as you followed exactly my train of thought, starting from the same source (History Channel’s documentary).

  7. Z said, on May 6, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008

  8. Z said, on May 6, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Tuesday, May 06, 2008
    Today I wanted to find a bookstore to meet a gal from an internet dating site. I Googled it naturally. Years ago we would get a phone book or call information. Before phones one might ask someone where some bookstore was. Before books one might ask and get a puzzled look a “what” store? Have you been hitting the grog?

    Before stores and shops there were street vendors. Before streets there were trails and paths. Before money, there was barter. Before books there were scrolls, before scrolls there were tablets. Before written words there were drawings, before an alphabet there were numbers, before writing there was art, before the written word there was the spoken word and before the spoken word there were humming sounds and mimicry made by voice or a hand clapping and what one’s own hand could do with a stick or rock.. Before another voice there was silence except for the sounds in nature, the birds, thunder rain and wind, the sounds or prey and predator.

    Before man maybe there was another man who made man from the stuff of primates DNA.
    Maybe man evolved from the lowly primates. I am not sure where woman came from. However I am sure that TV shopping and women evolved together.

    What would be left of an advanced civilization from hundreds of thousands of years ago? If it were advanced enough to recycle everything and leave nature untouched, there would not be much if anything we in our modern world could detect…. not yet anyway.

    After man they say in 10 or 20 thousand years the only thing left would be large damns or the great wall and even then it might be hard to find under a mound of dirt and erosion. Buried artifacts sealed to fossilize would last but would be difficult to locate or identify by most stumbling upon them.

    Perhaps the oldest stone structures are on Malta dating back some 5500 years and older than that are foundations and buried sites. The oldest structures buried are some 12,000 years old, like large mounds and monolithic wonders.

    SPHILE
    The Search for Pre Human Intelligent Life on Earth.
    Who was here before man, perhaps another man?

    There was report of a rock cut open and spark plug like hexagon shaped ceramic was inside it. The rock was reportedly 500,000 years old. There must be many objects of curiosity that would present a better picture of pre-human intelligent beings.

    They say that soon within the coming years all women will be able to reproduce women without men. Perhaps pre humans were all hot babes and things were just going along ok till one of them came out with the Y chromosome and that made the first man. Women began to get excited. Soon they had relationship problems and gradually their advanced society deteriorated to the argumentative insensitive dominating cave man. This is my cave, I bring home the bacon and you keep your mouth shut or I will hit you with this bone.

    From caveman to space age to total female dominance again to no men again and eventually back to the cave man again. Perhaps that is one cycle of life that repeats. The Alice and Eve theory.

    Regardless of marital problems if we or our progeny don’t get off this planet in the coming eons that will be the end of all the antiques people have been collecting. Our descendants may see the end of this planet from some galactic event long before our sun gives out and destroys the first 3 planets. Our moon is slowly moving away and many other totally destructive events are possible. Yikes!

    Then you have the universe itself. If our progeny don’t get to another dimension the next big bang will get them. That is unless some other theory is popular.

    All this being said it is still interesting to think about pre human intelligent beings living in an advanced society perhaps tens or hundreds or millions of years ago.

    Perhaps they were smart and used birth control to limit the population numbers and allow for a very high quality of life. Smart means smarter than our leaders.

    Perhaps they left no foot prints or any waste in nature not even their bones if they had any. Or perhaps they left a message in pollen or some DNA structure, a code with words of wisdom. Like a tiny bottle with a message drifting in our very cells.

    Or maybe the message is in an unknown wavelength that echos thru the eons bouncing off of all life. Or maybe they think its so obvious, wisdom that is, that if you can’t see it, you’re an un-evolved idiot so no amount of words would really help. It would be like leaving a fortune cookie for an ant. He would eat the sweet cookie and miss the paper of wisdom not knowing paper or words. Is that the human compared to a more evolved being?

    Smile and create a good life. Do no harm and be strong & prepared to defend yourself.
    You have everything in all space and in all time instantly. Please excuse me…I need to go for a walk I have been sitting writing too long.

    • Pops Calvin said, on May 26, 2009 at 6:09 pm

      I have been a proponent of the prior advanced civilization theory for 30 yrs. I won’t pretend to be a philosopher, but my thoughts have been well received by academics I consider far more intelligent than I.

      What if, facing extinction, these superior beings encoded “survival species” with the knowledge to not repeat the mistakes made. Predicting what path the evolutionary process would take is educated guesswork at best; knowing this they programmed many appropriate candidates, relying on the old “survival of the fittest”.

      Somehow we lost, are have yet to discover that knowledge. Upon discovery, will we have time and resources to reverse the harm we have done? Surely, a thousand years in the future we will have advanced far enough in genetic research to again duplicate or even improve upon the programming of the next species.

      Looking forward to hearing more of your ideas.

      • Piero said, on January 31, 2013 at 8:02 am

        That’s not a bad idea. Evolution of evolution. Intelligence of intelligence.
        Good. Thumbs up. Didn’t read the post so far, I’m sorry.

    • Onur said, on November 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      This is one of the most articulated pieces of writing I have ever seen. It is engaging and fun to read. I tip my hat to you sir.

  9. Eric said, on June 14, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Get Stephan Baxter’s writings. Also, July’s issue of FOCUS. It’s all about this subjet.

  10. richard said, on June 27, 2008 at 7:39 am

    I’ve thought about this question quite a bit, and in fact, got to this website by looking for people who’ve thought about it too. From what I understand, and although I’m not a biologist, we need to turn to biology for an answer.

    Biology tells us that life on earth is about evolution towards complexity, and is able to demonstrate that humans are the first intelligent species on earth, by following the evolutionary trail of pre-human forms of life, which created the “raw materials”, and, over time, the evolutionary basis, for the arrival of humans. In other words, intelligent humans were the result, and were only possible, by virtue of a long (hundreds of millions of years) line of creatures which led to the primates, of which humans are a part. In other words, its by studying the long trend of fossil evidence, and piecing together the evolutionary story, that evolutionary biologists are able to confidently claim that humans are the first, and the result of a long and intricate evolutionary tale.

    I’m not sure that I totally accept the argument, especially considering that there is always so much that escapes our understanding. But even accepting that the theory is accurate, I remain intrigued by the idea that, at some point(s) in earth’s history, intelligent species somehow, just popped up suddenly and then dissapeared just as quickly. For example, anthropology has been finding more and more that human evolution was not exactly a linear process. Instead, the fossil record reveals a number of “starts and stops”; i.e. more advanced proto-humans emerging suddenly, only to go extinct rather quickly, with similarly advanced proto-humans emerging again only much later in the record. All this to say, I’m intrigued by the idea that species as, or more, intelligent than humans might have appeared in very small numbers, and then dissapeared shortly thereafter…

  11. Swap said, on August 14, 2008 at 11:46 am

    I had this idea in my mind and I was just googling it up if I could get answers to any of this when I stumbled upon this site.
    Yes, I do tend to think about Pre-Human civilization..for that matter there might have been a Universe before the Big Bang too …
    It might be possible that the Universe might be contantly getting destroyed and regenerated. Because there are forces of Nature that we do not still understand.

    As for Pre-human civilizations on earth, it might have been possible that there were highly intelligent civilizations living long before on earth and maybe some disaster might have eradicated them. Time might have eradicated all possible evidences of this civilization.
    It is also possible that this civilization has not been eradicated at all and they still exist. Its only that they are not physically present. Intelligence is not physical. It does not have a body. But it is present and it does make things work. I got this idea from Arthur C Clarkes 2001 A space Odessy. What if there existed a civilization so advanced that they no longer had a need for a physical form. Only Intelligence was what was needed to survive. Maybe they are still around. And if you do not have a physical form you do not have an evidence.
    Thoughts?

  12. Michael LaBossiere said, on August 14, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Some philosophers (Nietzsche, for example) believe in an eternally recurring universe. Some scientists have suggested that the universe might stop expanding and then start compressing. This might (or might not) lead to another big bang. This might have happened before.

    Pre-human civilizations might have existed and all signs of their existence might have been eradicated. Alternatively, the signs might be hidden under ice or ocean.

    Being inclined to metaphysical dualism and a science fiction writer, the idea that a race could endure as “ghosts” after their physical deaths is quite interesting to me. There has been a story or two like that (some good, some not-Ghost of Mars comes to mind).

    There is also the possibility that intelligent beings exist on earth that we simply cannot detect. Physicists talk about multiple dimensions and there are, of course, energies that we cannot detect with our physical senses. Perhaps there are energy types that exist that we lack the instruments to detect. So, the idea of beings being here that we are unaware of has some appeal. Of course, such beings tend to most often figure in horror stories (such as the classic “From Beyond” by Lovecraft) rather than scientific or philosophical speculation.

  13. Dave said, on January 8, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    You may want to take a look at the book “Secrets of Lost Civilizations” – it discusses the finding of “ooparts” throughout history: artifacts that don’t fit within the accepted timeline of history, or were not identifiable given the technology of the time. It hypothesizes about an advanced pre-flood civilization, with long-lived humans (remember the ages listed in the old testament with patriarchs living hundreds of years?). Anyway it’s kind of interesting.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 9, 2009 at 5:41 pm

      It is actually the result of time travel. People go back and get eaten by dinosaurs, leaving their stuff behind. :)

  14. Mark said, on June 5, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I have been thinking about this since I saw that show also. I am not a philosopher but I do have a degree in Geology. I was thinking about what would be left of a civilization, not in a few thousand years, but over the course of deep time, say 65 million years, what evidence would be left then?

    The record of our species goes back a few hundred thousand years, and it is believed that many if not most species from as far back as the dinosaurs haven’t even been discovered in the fossil record yet.

    The more time that goes by, the more evidence gets buried beneath sediment, folded, eroded, subducted, etc. Therefore it would become increasingly difficult and unlikely to find fossils from a single species that lived for only a few hundred thousand years(and a few thousand years in large numbers). Many of our much more recent primate ancestors are only known by a couple of partial fossils, or in some instances a few bones or teeth.

    I think there would be a thin layer in the sedimentary record showing high concentrations of minerals that you would not expect to be there under natural circumstances, like iron where a city once stood. That would be one indication.

    Another would be an inexplicable depletion of natural resources from certain areas, like fossil fuels. If we use up most of the fossil fuels from our short time on the planet, it will take hundreds of millions of years under the right conditions, if ever to replace them. Strange breaks, like a discontinuity in a layer of coal, might be evidence of a prehistoric mining operation, or evidence of a mysterious hole drilled in an even more ancient volcanic pipe where there are diamonds.

    The final possibility are fossilized structures, buried under the right conditions, like those in Ancient Alexandria. With luck some of them might be found, but unlikely. That is what I have come up with brainstorming this idea anyway. Fun to think about but unlikely.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on June 7, 2009 at 8:21 am

      I think that one clear mark we might leave behind is our gold bars. The gold itself will not decay and the marks placed upon the bars should be recognizable as the product of intelligent beings. But, most of our technology would just rust and erode away. Ironically, the stone works of the ancients will most likely outlast our new constructions. Our trash heaps will probably endure for quite a while-especially if they ever finish that nuclear waste dump site. Perhaps our finally monument will be gold and radioactive waste. I’m sure that says something interesting about us.

    • Adam said, on July 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      If anything will be found from a previous intelligent species it will be someone from your field – a geologist. The thinking will need to change from a perspective of naturally occurring materials and those that would be found made through some “man” made technique – not to put to strange a title to that.

      It’s amazing that we find the fossils that we do find from previous spans of history. Considering how little artifacts and fossils that have been found of our own species or ancestors I certainly imagine that finding fossil records of a previous species will be exponentially impossible.

      However, things that you mentioned such as depletion of raw materials from, like fossil fuels, would be a great indication as evidence of a pre existing intelligent species. Something to consider: the Permian Extinction. Reading up on this has got me thinking more and more about extinct intelligent species (or let’s call them EIS). Check out the wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permian%E2%80%93Triassic_extinction_event.

      This event has everything, and as a geologist I’m sure you’re familiar with the head scratching as to why this happened and how. From the information presented in this article there are events that I would think point directly at some kind of EIS influence. Things such as a lack of Coal deposits in available stratum, many blurps of extinct species (something that has happened very rapidly in our own time because of our direct influence), certain materials found that can only be explained to being created by vulcanization – which could mean volcanic or a body impact but also EIS influence – think of all the materials that humanity has created through certain processes.

      So, what we should be looking for related to EIS artifacts and fossils would more likely be materials that humans have created and how those materials would break down over thousands of years. Compounds have a tendency to last longer than radioactive decay right? Even though radiation would be a good indicator of objects used in a particular area, I would think that compounds created would serve as a better indicator of an EIS. And, as we understand radioactive decay in elements like Uranium, over the course of several 10’s of thousands of years, spent fuel depots would eventually return to useable fuel, therefore, any large deposits of these kinds of materials could also suggest EIS – possibly if found in certain strata.

      I’m not as knowledgeable in the field of geology, so maybe you have better relations with individuals in the field but I wonder if these things are being considered. I’m sure 100 years ago a geologist would have been laughed at if they considered the possibility of an EIS. And who knows, there have been countless human archeological sites that have been destroyed by human activity – who’s to say this hasn’t already happened to an EIS site (someone just not bothering to piece the puzzle together)?

      We won’t ever know if there ever were an EIS until we can definitively rule it out, so in true scientific method it should be assumed that they did exist – we just need to prove that they didn’t.

  15. Kyle said, on August 21, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    It’s deffinately the most obvious solution to some questions. It’s alot more practical than aliens, or government cover ups… hahaha. It’s totally possiable. And to me all the ancient civilizations that believe re-occuring human civilizations further confirm what is totally possiable. After all im sure people around 10 000 years ago probally knew a bit more about what was going on 11000 years ago than we know today.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on August 21, 2009 at 1:30 pm

      Well, we do know that advanced civilizations can fall fairly quickly and very far. Rome provides a good example of this. Humans have, it seems, been around long enough to have built a fairly advanced civilization or two that fell and vanished under (for example) the grinding ice or encroaching sea. If we also consider that there may have been intelligent non-humans (perhaps a really smart raptor), then they could have built civilizations that also fell.

  16. debrakcarey said, on October 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Or perhaps Genesis is right after all.

    Google Book of Enoch or The Watchers. Either one will lead you on a journey of theory and speculation.

  17. debrakcarey said, on October 27, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Went looking for a link for you; while this isn’t a link to The Book of Enoch or The Watchers, it is interesting in that it mirrors your musings from a Christian perspective.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v17/i2/civilizations.asp

  18. Knowledge Chikuse said, on December 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    interesting blog…i also think that there was a prehistoric intelligent race. what would happen as we evolve? we would shed our bodies for machine ones,and as we live longer and need to live even longer,the machine bodies would not be durable enough and wud be replaced by us actually living in some sort of uncontained electricity grid, as programs and holograms.

    who knows if those ancient people did not already do this and are still here…undetectable to us?

    on another note…there might actually be a reason why humans dont actually KNOW anything and have to use science and other sorcery to find out. we could be those people…wiped out our own memories for some ghastly reason…

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on December 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm

      There are some interesting sci-fi stories that speculate about pre-human races, including those that shed their material forms. Of course, many of these are presented as inimical beings (such as those in Lovecraft and in Sturgeon’s Killdozer).

  19. Crocodile said, on January 7, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Interesting blog and replies here. I read Andy McDermott’s Covenant of Genesis and it has had me thinking about pre human intelligent life since. I am devout Christian and believe no doubt that we were created. I’ve always found it hard to explain evolution though, but I have played with the idea of climate change and evolution being on the same path. My thought is that changes in the cosmos lead to changes in the environment which trigger mutations in species where only the positive mutants survive. In my view this is all controlled by God. Jesus came from this “cosmotic” realm, and it took the wisest people of the time to identify this…God made man in his image so man is an expression of God. Jesus was the ultimate expression of God. Now we now about DNA. DNA is represented by 4 letters, arranged in specific ways to form every living thing that ever existed. “In the beginning was the word and the word was God and the word was with God”. God made all living things with DNA, but He made man in his image and left him to “work the earth”. God made man Intelligent and Self sustaining. Man was the last living thing God created so this might explain evolution. Man existed before woman so woman HAS to be an improved version of human. Woman was the first living being to be come “conscious” through eating of the “fruit”. Woman taught man to become conscious. We are currently living in the age of this conciousness. We are on the verge of eating from the fruit of life, but this will happen after humanity has evolved. This is believed to be after the year 2012, when virgin births arrive in earnest…the second coming. This will lead to death of humanity as we know it, but will give rise to immortality. For those in the right gene pool eating of the right “fruits” they will experience heaven, for the rest, hell. Being in the right gene pool is as simple as doing the right thing, eating the right food and being happy – epigenetics is proving that today…

    • Beatniko said, on November 24, 2013 at 6:41 am

      you are relying on a text called the christian bible which has, in itself, a very questionable lineage

  20. Lou said, on February 2, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I have had similar musings over the years yet if another intelligent species had existed in the remote past and had acheived a like technological level, they would have left indelible traces on the moon, in earth orbit or even in the closer planets that may yet be found.

  21. Lincourt said, on April 17, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    There might not be scientific proof or things we can find or touch that prove that those who came before us, or were before us ever existed… But if u think about it there IS evidence: over 6 billion people trully believe they existed (or exist) grab a bible, the coran, ancient greek scripts or any other piece of text that talks about GODS….
    Gods are beings that existed before us, they created us, in every religion known. So if you think about it there is plenty of evidence.

  22. [...] Posted on July 5, 2010 by newworksmedia I came across an interesting blog not to long ago: http://aphilosopher.wordpress.com/2008/02/25/pre-human-civilizations/ and felt compelled to think about this.  You may want to read this [...]

  23. Griff said, on November 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    When we found out there was no God life became meaningless, people started to kill and feared no consequence.
    Finding out we were alone without meaning almost destroyed us. We just could not accept a completely random universe.
    Life became hell.
    We were left with one decision to make, in order to survive, in order for future generations to exist, in order to guarantee the continuation of our species…
    We had to forget…
    Everything.
    We became you.

    • Beatniko said, on November 24, 2013 at 6:45 am

      I don’t need a belief in a god of some sort to give life meaning and (e.g.) not kill.

      These good values are within me already. I am not a follower of any religion. Religions imply a need to follow. I do not have that requirement.

  24. Yo LG said, on December 23, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    I saw the same documentary a while ago and i came up to the same thoughst.
    Only recently i thought of googling it.

    What i am suprised of is that no science fiction was ever inspired by this theorie.

    • Anonymous said, on September 22, 2011 at 12:01 am

      Battlestar Galactica… Obviously this reply is way late but yes that is the idea behind the whole show. Although you won’t find out until the very end.

    • johnathon said, on December 3, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      Actually there was. The movie was called the planet of the apes. It is the same basic ideal.

  25. Choe said, on March 13, 2011 at 3:20 am

    Hi all,

    Apparently, I haven’t read it yet, but I believe the author is Lara Cantrell – “The Greatest Story Never Told” From what I remember of the description of the book, Lara who is qualified up to her back teeth does explore these sort of subjects.
    Any thoughts, let me know….

  26. Zerg said, on March 31, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Ever thought about the possibility that if pre human civ. existed they might of reach the capability of achieving interstellar travel before earth faced an apocalyptic event. The aliens sightings we see might just be our distant cousins coming back to their ancient home planet observing and studying what new species have taken over earth.

  27. Yohan said, on May 9, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    This I know Is out there but I once read a science fiction book years ago about an intelligent race of reptoid like beings. They had an highly advanced civilization and culture in general. But their world was destroyed when the poles shifted leaving only small mammals left alive. Some of these beings (reptoids) made it into space escaping the mass destruction and of course extinction of their race. To make a long story short
    they later returned home to a planet run by the small mammals that had evolved into humans. The planet was of course Earth, sort of like Charelston Heston returning home to find a planet controlled by Great Apes. I believe this book was written by Arthur C. Clark, the title escapes my memmory at the momment. Pure fantasy I guess but a good read nonetheless!

  28. Nataly said, on August 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Interesting subject! I’ve probably seen the same show and been theorizing a lot about all the possibilities. I think the answer is there in front of us but we just don’t understand it. Although some of us might know, the mass doesn’t.

    There are some megalithic signs everywhere on earth that someone more advanced existed. There are writings from ancient humans which we consider to be “metaphores”, there are unexplained complexes and temples carved in mountains which would have required some technologies we do not even posses. When we dig, we find new things.

    And how about our oceans floors? Mostly left unexplored. From the very old writings, there are lots of floods and sunken cities that have happened. How long would a civilization take to dissapear without a trace at the bottom of the very deep ocean? We cannot even make it to the deepest parts yet.

    What and who were they? It is hard to conceive and accept that things exist outside of our understood world, probably because we’ve been conditioned that way. Probably because we live in a world where there are classes and judgements of ideas. We live in a world where we accept what is being fed to us as facts (because science, school, governement, church) said so. We do no question or invedtigate for ourselves, out of lack of money, knowledge, interests, time, ressources. We just believe everything we get fed! Everything in this life comes easy, even the answers about our origins but is it quality answers, or just some easy truth produced for the masses?

    And when we end up asking questions, it is probably too late to find the answers out. A few thousand years of Christian dominance and ban on science will allow fossils to deteriorate further, to be destroyed…

    With our knowledge, we can engineer life, we can go in space. We’ve accomplished all that in the last 70 years and our knowledge grows increasingly rapidly. Imagine what could have been if the likes of DaVinci and Newton would have been allowed to think! We could have been technologically advanced probably before that. And if us, homosapiens, are able to do this in roughly 100 years of scientific developpement, why wouldn’t someone else, from here or elsewhere, have figured it out eons ago? The universe Is estimated at 12-14 billion years! In comparison, 100 yrs is insignificant.

    “It’s heresy!” said Dr. Zaius, Minister of Science And deep defender of faith (Planet of the Apes).

  29. gio said, on September 19, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I think this prehuman theory a key to UFO understanding. the real deal.
    they’re not alien at all..

  30. gio said, on September 19, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I’ve come to think that there were survivors.. If one day we’ll get the truth about the Moon, we’ll know.

  31. Wvibeedz said, on September 22, 2011 at 10:44 am

    About a year Bbs Girls =-[[

  32. Anonymous said, on November 24, 2011 at 3:05 am

    Something few people take time to consider: sure, the earth is a bit over 4 billion years old, but life on it (native to Earth for that matter) is not. The first organic reactions in protozoa like creatures (super basic bacteria) are believed to have occurred 2.2 billion years ago. Of course, even with half the time most people use as a measuring stick for life on earth, 2 billion years is still a long time, although it took a tremendous amount of time before there were multi-celled organisms (roughly 500 million years after the first single celled organisms. At most, multi celled organisms had 1.5 billion years or so to get things done then.

    Also, I hate it when people assume aliens or some superior forerunner had to be responsible for some great architectural or otherwise impressive feat. Give humans more credit, our ancestors did some amazing things, and the fact that they lived so differently than us only better serves to show us why they were able to accomplish such massive tasks.

    But if there’s anything you can count on, it’s that we know very little about anything. There’s a prodigal 13 year old kid working on a creation theory that challenges the big bang… we learn that great societies weren’t so remarkable, and that nature has more surprises in store than we ever imagined (naturally occurring fission reactions, anyone?)

    But until there’s real solid evidence, take this sorta shtick with a grain of salt will ya? The scientific method hasn’t revealed everything yet, but if it had all the time in the universe, it certainly would.

  33. johnathon said, on December 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    I think the ideal sounds completely perfect, except for one small detail. If there where past technological versions of humanity before this one than presumably the human population would have exploded into a matter of billions of people before as well. If that happened than one would expect us to find billions of human skeletons from all over the God dam planet, but we have not. We have found dinosaur skeletons and fossils that date back way the hell further, so where are all the skeletons form the past civilizations? I love the theory, but the evidence says no.

  34. LABTECH said, on December 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    THE EVOLUTIONARY RECORD IS NOT PERFECT AND PROVIDES ONLY A HYPOTHETICAL FRAMEWORK TO SUPPORT REVISED THEORIES OF EVOLUTION, TOO MANY DOCTORATES AND LIFE CAREERS ARE BASED ON THIS PSEUDO RELIGEON SO IF IT IS QUESTIONED BY ANYONE RATIONAL WITH CREDENTIALS THEY ARE INVERIABLY OSTICISED AND CLASSIFIED AS LUNATIC FRINGE, OVER THE PAST HUNDRED YEARS INUMERABLE OOPORTS (OUT OF PLACE UNEXPLAINABLE OBJECTS) HAVE BEEN FOUND AND MOST HAVE BEEN MIS CATEGORIZED, MIS FILED OR EVEN DESTROYED AS UNIMPORTANT TRASH, HYPOTHETICALLY SPEEKING ANCIENT HUMAN CIVILISATIONS DWELT WITH A FEAR OF THE SKY, INUMERBLE VARIATIONS ON THE WAR IN THE SKY EXISTED AMONGST ANCIENT CULTURES AS DID LEGENDS OF LOST GLORYS OF THERE ANCESTORS AND GOD’S, INDEED FOR MUCH OF ITS HISTORY HUMANITY HAS LOOKED BACK WITH LONGING FOR SOMETHING LOST, SELECTIVE BREEDING CAUSED BY ENVIRONMENTAL STRAIN CAN CAUSE A HIGHLY EVOLVED RACE WHO HIDE FROM THE SKY IN CAVES TO FAVOUR THE STRONGER, SHORTER BUILD AND STOOPED POSTURES ARE MERELY A RESULT OF PROLONGED BREEDING IN A LOW CEILING CAVE LIKE ENVIRONMENT WERE FEAR OF EXTERNAL FIRE ATTRACTING UNWANTED ATTENTION MEANT YOU CONCEALED YOUR COOKING FIRES DEEP UNDERGROUND, IT IS MORE LIKELY THEREFORE THAT HUMANTIY IS FAR OLDER THAN THOUGHT OR ACCEPTED AS THE EVIDENCE OF WICH THERE IS MORE THAN THAT USED TO SUPPORT APE EVOLUTION THEORY IS CONSTANTLY REMOVED OR RIDICULED, WE HAVE FOUND NATURAL BIO ORGANISMS WHICH BRAKE DOWN POLYMERS (PLASTIC) IN THE ENVIRONMENT AND METALS (LOOK UP LOHA ALLOYS FROM ANCIENT INDIA) IN THE URALS THIN MICROSCOPIC TUNGSTEN MOLIBDENUM FILLEMENTS HAVE BEEN FOUND IN 250000 YEAR OLD DEPOSITS., ITS NOT IN EVERYONES INTERESTS TO KNOW THE TRUTH THERE ARE EVEN IDIOTS INFORMING OUR LEADERS THAT IT WOULD HARM US, AS WELL AS VESTED FINANCIAL INTERESTS IN ANY PATENT APPLICATIONS WERE PROOF OF NONE ORIGINALITY WOULD INVALIDATE THEM,.

  35. G0m3r said, on June 18, 2012 at 8:01 am

    That mysterious species he is talking about is Humanity. There is plenty of hard scientific evidence that we are not the pinnacle of human technological development. That we attained a level of technology higher than we have today and a catastrophic shifting of the outer shell of the planet wiped their civilization out.

  36. Mon Ami Pierrot said, on July 5, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Wow.
    Thanks for this old Michael’s post and for some replies, expecially Z and Adam.
    I went to some very similar conclusions, and completely on my own in the last 1-2 years, without even knowing the Docum. I only talked of this with my fellow inquisitive brother.
    Some months ago I wrote down my ideas in 2 different writings. Both are in italian (I’m Italian). The 1st one, which I post here, is in form of an article – or a conference speech. I will not publish the Google Translation, but if you don’t understand italian you may want to copy&paste it in GoogleTranslate and read it in your language. It somewhat works for the 90% of the content. The 2nd one… can’t find it but it is buried deep in some laptop (I use to write silly things when I’m on a train or airplane traveling for my job. Yes I’m also a scholar, and I don’t teach Biology or Geology, just “Didactics of music” (!).
    While in the 2nd one I’m more schematical and speculative, the 1st one is more introductory and it’s 1st half looks like a bad scratch of Life After People documentary. I beg your pardon, I didn’t know it! Please read it as well as you can understand better my language biases.
    Some ideas are incredibly similar to some proposed by some of you. E.g. Z’s idea that a Message is buried in some waves or in some DNA. Anyway, I already got to some more advanced speculations, e.g. I ask WHY this old civilization disappeared before leaving its signs in all the square inches of our Galaxy. In the 2nd writing I develop these thinkings, but please read this 1st one.
    One word on “Archeopolitismologia” (Archeopolitismology). It is an ugly word coming from Archeo (old) + politismus (Civilization in greek) so it sounds like “Study of old civilizations”, when with civilization I mean something specific to a specimen. If you know a better word, we can found the basis of the discipline together.

    Per una archeopolitismologia (For an “archeopolitismology”)[use google translate to translate from italian]

    Immaginiamoci di morire tutti.
    …mmmh, forse non è la miglior maniera di iniziare un articolo.
    Immaginiamoci allora che domani tutte le funzioni vitali di ogni uomo sulla terra, maschio, femmina, bianco nero rosso o giallo, giovane o anziano, cessino di funzionare di colpo. Mentre pensate a come impiegare le ultime 24 ore che vi ho concesso, ragioniamo assieme su cosa succederebbe dopo altre 24 ore dalla nostra inesorabile scomparsa.
    I nostri corpi rimarrebbero dove ci trovavamo nell’ultimo momento, i macchinari in funzione, le luci accese. In molti casi qualcosa avrebbe smesso di funzionare, avarie tecniche avrebbero creato incidenti in stabilimenti industriali. Alcuni dei nostri amici a quattro zampe, a digiuno, dopo aver saccheggiato la spazzatura, starebbero cominciando a prendere in considerazione l’idea di assaggiare un mignolo o un orecchio del nostro corpo.
    Dopo una settimana le cose sembrerebbero abbastanza simili. In alcune città potrebbero essersi diffusi incendi dovuti all’incuria e a fughe di gas e altri incidenti. La desolazione e gli animali randagi dominerebbero le strade delle metropoli.
    Dopo un mese molti dei nostri corpi potrebbero essere stati mangiucchiati da sciami di insetti moltiplicatasi grazie a questa insperata fonte di cibo. Animali randagi e selvaggi comincierebbero a saccheggiare le nostre riserve di cibo più accessibili, ad esempio nei supermercati. Incendi e altri disastri dovuti al mancato controllo delle strutture produttive avrebbero potuto causare la distruzione di alcune zone antropizzate. Dighe potrebbero cedere con risultati disastrosi per certi centri abitati. Forse qualche centrale nucleare avrebbe potuto subire un melt-down i cui danni sarebbero difficilmente quantificabili, almeno nell’immediato. Impianti di produzione chimica potrebbero aver rilasciato liquami o nubi velenosi, con effetti anche gravi sull’ecologia locale. Piattaforme petrolifere potrebbero aver rilasciato grandi quantità di greggio negli oceani.
    Dopo un anno gli agenti atmosferici avrebbero causato già i primi danni agli edifici piccoli e grandi. La vegetazione e qualche animale potrebbero aver cominciato a colonizzare le costruzioni umane. I nostri corpi sarebbero nella maggioranza dei casi ridotti a delle ossa. Grossi roditori o qualche canide, o forse qualche primate, potrebbero essersi già specializzati nella ricerca di cibo inscatolato, ma non sarà una risorsa infinita.
    Dopo dieci anni i cadaveri sarebbero ridotti a miseri resti mischiati ai vestiti. Gravi danni minaccerebbero gli edifici. Cambiamenti temporenei della temperatura, dovuti a nubi provocate dagli incendi, potrebbero aver fatto oscillare il livello degli oceani con conseguenze disastrose per l’antropizzazione costiera.
    Passato un secolo, solo una piccola minoranza dei nostri corpi avrebbe conservato riconoscibili i tessuti. Il 50% degli edifici umani avrebbe già perso la copertura, e la vegetazione, penetrata all’interno avrebbe già comincato a divorarne piano piano le strutture.
    Dopo mille anni anni, disastri naturali come terremoti e inondazioni avrebbero cominciato a demolire le strutture umane situate in zone ad alto rischio. Pochi edifici di più di 20 piani sarebbero ancora in piedi. Lo skyline di Manhattan comincierebbe a essere irriconoscibile. Solo in zone fredde e aride si potrebbero trovare resti umani apprezzabilmente conservati. Molte grandi opere degli ultimi 200 anni di civiltà (ponti, edifici, tunnel, monumenti) sarebbero irrimediabilmente compromesse. Nemmeno gli animali troverebbero più interessanti le città umane.
    Dopo diecimila anni le grandi strutture ancora conservatesi sarebbero perlopiù quelle antiche (piramidi, muraglia cinese, ecc.). Di moltissimi grattacieli delle megalopoli asiatiche non rimarebbero che collinette colonizzate dalla vegetazione. Forse di Manhattan rimarrebbe anche meno: qualche tsunami potrebbe aver lavato via molte delle rovine più imponenti.
    Dopo centomila anni i naturali cambiamenti climatici avrebbero sconvolto i paesaggi locali. Le città costiere sarebbero quasi tutte scomparse o sprofondate nel mare. Persino le piramidi potrebbero cominciare a subire i primi danni dovuti a periodi umidi con nascita delle vegetazione. Qualche località isolata potrebbe essere rimasta relativamente preservata, specie in zone fredde, dove ancora si potrebbe forse torvare del DNA in resti umani.
    Dopo un milione di anni periodi di caldo e di glaciazioni avrebbero interessato tutte le aree del pianeta. Terremoti e inondazioni avrebbero pressoché cancellato anche le strutture più imponenti, comunque irriconoscibili a un occhio distratto. Nel sito di basi antartiche e in zone di ricerca sotterranee (grotte naturali) si potrebbero rinvenire gli ultimi resti interessanti di esseri umani.
    Dopo dieci milioni di anni (un ordine di grandezza di più del periodo di tempo necessario alla “nascita” del genere umano) persino squadre specializzate provenienti dal presente e dotati di mezzi all’avanguardia e informazioni dettagliate riuscirebbe a rinvenire facilmente manufatti umani. Un problema non indifferente sarebbero le carte geografiche, ormai inadeguate in alcune zone del pianeta.
    Dopo cento milioni di anni rinvenimenti di resti umani o di manufatti umani sarebbero possibili solo con notevole fortuna, e solo sapendo esattamente cosa cercare. Difficilmente una specie/civiltà diversa da quella umana potrebbe riconoscere tali manufatti come testimonianze di una civiltà, e non avrebbe molti indizi, nel caso improbabile riuscisse a trovare un cranio umano, che quel cranio sarebbe appartenuto a una specie capace di disquisire su un futuro catastrofico.
    E’ opinione comune che una presunta supremazia dei dinosauri, prosperata per decine di milioni di anni, abbia avuto una brusca battuta d’arresto crca 65 milioni di anni fa. Immaginiamo che una specie di dinosauri, nell’arco di, diciamo un milione di anni, abbia potuto sviluppare una lingua, una scrittura, una tecnologia, una civiltà. Immaginiamoci che per qualche motivo quella specie, una volta conquistato il pianeta, abbia inavvertitamente provocato una catastrofe (per sé e per molte altre specie), causata forse dalla crescita esponenziale della sua popolazione o dall’uso sconsiderato delle risorse naturali. Oppure, qualche individuo o gruppo, animato da fanatiche idee religiose, abbia deliberamente provocato l’apocalisse. Oppure, oppure. Le ragioni per immaginare un’autodistruzione sono innumerevoli.
    Che rimarrebbe ora di quella civiltà? Nulla o quasi. Dove sono gli scheletri di quei rettili cittadini della terra? Presto detto: mescolati e persi in mezzo a un mucchio di altri loro “parenti” selvaggi e non intelligenti, che in milioni di anni di storia li avrebbero migliaia di volte superato per numero.
    Nemmeno una “squadra speciale” di rettili mandata dal passato potrebbe sperare di riuscire a trovare facilmente qualcosa dei loro fratelli. Al massimo potrebbe raccontarci che erano riusciti a insegnare a dei volgari Velociraptor i rudimenti di un linguaggio di simboli su una lavagnetta, e che il culmine della loro civiltà si è sviluppato nel fresco Antartide, l’unico ambiente non ostile della terra dopo che per millenni lo sfruttamento boschivo e l’effetto serra avevano sconvolto la climatologia del pianeta. Ma dopo qualche mese di infruttuoso lavoro tornerebbero al “loro” presente tristi e con poco o nulla in mano.
    Cosa voglio dire? Che è realmente esistita una civiltà dei rettili? Non esattamente. Voglio semplicemente dire che se una civiltà (di rettili, di insetti, di vegetali, di primati…) è esistita prima di quella umana, e per qualche motivo è scomparsa, sarebbe estremamente difficile trovarne i resti.
    Nonostante ciò, la ricerca di civiltà extraterrestri non dovrebbe considerarsi prioritaria rispetto alla ricerca (e allo studio speculativo) di civiltà preumane, disciplina che chiamerei archeopolitismologia. Se non altro perché, a mio parere, è molto più ragionevole immaginare che possiamo trovare qualcosa qui sulla terra, piuttosto che lassù nello spazio. Ma è pur sempre ragionevole, e anche se difficile, non è impossibile. Come si affronterebbe una simile ricerca? Beh, nel dipartimento di archeopolitismologia.
    Come funzionerebbe il dipartimento di archeopolitismologia? Io lo dividerei in quattro sezioni.
    La prima sarebbe la sezione di archeoantropolitismologia. Il suo oggetto di studio sarebbero civiltà di primati, ominidi, o uomini antichissimi, e sarebbe abituata a lavorare sull’ordine 5-6 di grandezza (decine di migliaia o centinaia di migliaia di anni). Sarebbe costituita da esperti in paleoantropologia, sociologia, archeologia, storia antica ecc.
    La seconda sarebbe la sezione di mesoarcheopolitismologia. Il suo oggetto di studio sarebbero civiltà di animali superiori (mammiferi, rettili, ecc.) e il suo ordine di grandezza sarebbe il 7-8 (centiania di migliaia, o milioni di anni). Sarebbe la sezione che riceverebbe più risonanza mediatica. Riunirebbe biologi, etologi, paleologi, archeologi, ecc.
    La terza sarebbe la sezione di paleoarcheopolitismologia. Il suo oggetto di studio sarebbero civiltà o organizzazioni intelligenti di forme di vita non considerate “superiori”, forme di vita non a base carbonica, o addirittura senza DNA. Lavorerebbe su ordini di grandezza 9-10 (decine o centinaia di milioni di anni). I suoi esperti andrebbero ricercati tra biologi, biochimici, entomologi, botanici, paleologi ecc.
    La quarta sezione fungerebbe un po’ da riferimento e da raccordo tra le altre tre, un po’ da ponte con altre discipline. Sarebbe la sezione di archeopolitismologia teorica. Si occuperebbe di sviluppare gli strumenti metodologici e teorici, e di far dialogare la disciplina con saperi molto differenti: sociologia, geologia, astronomia, matematica, fisica, filosofia, biochimica, biologia, ingegneria, economia, ecologia, semiologia, oceanografia, archeologia, planetologia, climatologia, antropologia culturale. Nessun passo delle altre sezioni sarebbe immaginabile senza alcune indicazioni date dalle teorie sviluppate in questa sede. Inoltre, la sezione avrebbe un rapporto privilegiato con l’organismo deputato alla ricerca di fondi e alla parte “politica” della ricerca. Una equipe speciale all’interno della sezione si occuperebbe dello studio di come una civiltà possa essere scomparsa, insomma, alla apocalissologia, e si farebbe aiutare da epidemiologi, teologi, psicologi, sociologi, statistici, antropologi culturali, fisici nucleari e teorici, studiosi dell’ecosistema e della teoria dei giochi, economisti, genetisti. Dovrebbe indagare, tra l’altro, le condizioni che avrebbero allo stesso modo favorito sia la comparsa che la scomparsa di tali civiltà.
    Ritorno alla ricerca di intelligenza extraterrestre per sottolineare un concetto fondamentale. Ciò che mi rende non tanto “scettico” quanto piuttosto poco entusiasta degli sforzi in direzione di tale ricerca è proprio il suo oggetto di studio. A mio parere la ricerca di esointelligenza è un concetto erroneo dal puro punto di vista probabilistico. Posto che non possiamo nemmeno tentare di stabilire le probabilità che vi siano forme di vita e/o intelligenza nell’universo (e infatti le stime vanno da 0% a 100%… grazie tante!!!), limitiamoci a stabilire come queste supposte intelligenze potrebbero manifestarsi a noi. Innanzitutto dovremmo cercare di immaginare perlomeno quando esse siano nate. Ora, con un età dell’universo di oltre 13 miliardi di anni, le probabilità che quelle intelligenze siano nate diciamo nell’ordine di centinaia di migliaia di anni fa (come l’uomo), sono semplicemente ridicole. Se anche così fosse, le probabilità che abbiano raggiunto la teconologia per far viaggiare per lo meno le informazioni attraverso le stelle, tecnologia ragionevolmente raggiungibile dalla razza umana in diciamo un altro migliaio di anni, in proprio quel lasso di tempo dalla loro “scoperta del fuoco” ad oggi sono così basse da risultare imbarazzanti.
    Tutto porta a pensare che tali forme di intelligenza, con non migliaia di anni di vantaggio ripsetto a noi, bensì milioni di anni, abbiano sviluppato una raffinatezza incalcolabile. Non dovremmo noi cercare loro, bensì farci trovare da loro. Un potente sistema di trasmissione, di quelli attualmente impiegati, che mandasse nello spazio profondo a ripetizione Yesterday sarebbe più che sufficiente, viste le nostre risorse. Insomma, bisognerebbe solo aspettare che il messaggio arrivi, e che una loro risposta ritorni indietro, magari accompagnata da qualcuno di loro in carne ed ossa o da qualche succedaneo fisico, con l’intenzione di dare il benvenuto all’umanità nell’esclusivo club delle forme di vita intelligenti (o di sterminarla prima che faccia ulteriori danni).
    Eppure, il mio naturale entusiasmo per la fisica teorica più spinta, mi porta a pensare che se tale intelligenza veramente esistesse, avrebbe già trovato da tempo il sistema per superare l’ostacolo della velocità della luce. In poche parole, essa saprebbe già che noi esistiamo, che stiamo scrutando il cielo o che siamo seduti di fronte a un laptop speculando sulla loro esistenza. Qualunque sia la ragione per la cuale non si sono fatti vivi sarà (per loro) una ottima ragione, insindacabile da noi povere formichine. Forse stanno aspettando, ma cosa? Che raggiungiamo un decente livello di tecnologia? Che costruiamo la pace mondiale? Che coloriamo il nostro mondo di arancione? Che ci prostriamo al cospetto del vero Dio cristiano o di una Teiera volante? La speculazione sarebbe sfrenata e infruttuosa.
    Io trovo che se una civiltà extraterrestre non ci ha ancora contattato può essere per una ragione molto più semplice: perché non c’è più. Da decine o centinaia di milioni di anni. Una qualche legge a noi sconosciuta dell’universo potrebbe aver stabilito che un’organizzazione troppo complessa dell’intelligenza e dell’ordine non possa essere data o tenda all’assoluta autodistruzione. Quella stessa legge potrebbe aver portato alla scomparsa dei nostri amici intelligentosauri, perché no?
    Ad ogni modo, anche se fossimo certi al 100% dell’esistenza di quelle superesointelligenze, sarebbe piuttosto sciocco ostinarsi a cercarle, così come sarebbe sciocco cercare superintelligenze sulla terra. I nostri sforzi dovrebbero cercare segni di una intelligenza “osservabile”, e quindi una intelligenza “normale”, e quindi una intelligenza per forza autodistruttasi, e quindi dei resti o segni osservabili solo da molto più vicino: sulla terra, sotto il suo suolo, tra i ghiacci dell’antartide, sul fondo degli oceani, nel DNA dei topini bianchi.
    Ma torniamo al principio.
    Allora, avete pensato cosa fareste in quelle ultime 24 ore? Molti chiamerebbero o raggiungerebbero i propri cari, si direbbero quello che non si sono detti in anni di vita passati sulla ricerca. Qualcuno ricercherebbe la propria ex, confessandole cose belle o brutte. Qualcuno farebbe ascoltare ai propri figli la Nona di Beethoven o My generation degli Who. Altri si dedicherebbero a provare quello che hanno sempre sognato di provare: sport estremi, abbuffate spaventose, orge, visite a luoghi o ad opere d’arte. Qualcuno si farebbe prendere dal panico, magari si suiciderebbe (!), altri si butterebbero nei luoghi di culto a pregare, altri commetterebbero efferratezze. Certamente qualcuno cercherebbe di ignorare il tutto e vivere il proprio ultimo giorno come se fosse un normale giorno qualunque.
    Ma sicuramente qualcuno dei miei lettori si preoccuperebbe del poi. E poi?, si chiederebbe. E poi, direbbe qualche cinico, niente. Niente, gli risponderemmo, per noi. Ma l’universo continua. Siamo sicuri che non dovremmo lasciare qualcosa? Ecco: qualcuno, con i mezzi tecnici e intellettuali, potrebbe voler impiegare le ultime 24 ore per lasciare un segno. Ma dove? E per chi? E come lasciare scritto “Qui c’eravamo noi, modestamente eravamo in gamba, ma ora non ci siamo più”?
    Beh, 24 ore non sembrano sufficienti per una simile impresa: ci vorrebbe più tempo.
    Ma basterebbe poi una settimana? Un mese? Un anno? Dieci? Un secolo? Di più? Quanto tempo ci concederebbe l’apocalisse (ammesso che abbia il bon ton di annunciarsi con un telegramma) per lasciare la nostra firma sulla terra (o sulla luna, o nello spazio, o nel DNA dei topini bianchi?). Probabilmente, non abbastanza (almeno per trascendere di 2 o 3 ordini di grandezza il periodo necessario all’umanità per raggiungere quello stadio di conoscenze). Per il semplice motivo che la rapidità e l’efficacia sterminatrice di tale apocalisse sarebbe proporzionale al nostro livello scientifico, lo stesso che determinerebbe la nostra abilità e rapidità nel confezionare tale firma.
    Ecco perché non dobbiamo disperarci se non troviamo segni intenzionali della presenza di civiltà arcaiche. Ciò non ci dispensa, naturalmente, dal cercare pure quelli, persino nello spazio e nel DNA. Di più. Nella nostra quarta sezione del dipartimento dovrebbe anche trovare il posto un pool di esperti, formato da semiologi, archeologi, planetologi, geologi, etologi, astronomi, linguisti, fisici teorici, ingegneri genetici, psicologi, estetologi, studiosi delle arti ecc. il cui compito sarebbe appunto quello di guidare la ricerca di tali segni. Essi dovrebbero sapere che quei segni potrebbero essere tanto (intenzionalmente o no) complicati e difficili da comprendere quanto incredibilmente banali.
    Qualche spirito particolarmente attento alle necessità pratiche dell’uomo moderno potrebbe a questo punto chiedersi: ma a cosa servirebbe trovare tracce di qualcosa morto sepolto e dimenticato da milioni di anni? Ci sarebbe una risposta pure per lui. Se una forma di vita terrestre ha costruito un livello tecnologico, scientifico e culturale paragonabile a quello umano (e questo è naturalmente, il dato speculativo da cui partiamo) per passare poi improvvisamente all’inesorabile scomparsa, è perché qualcosa deve aver sbagliato. Qualche errore, forse banale, banalissimo, deve aver commesso. O forse una forza oscura, un dato scritto nel DNA avrebbe potuto attivamente provvedere a distruggere quegli esseri. Tutti questi pericoli li potremmo correre pure noi, e non mi sembra di peccare di miopia nel dire che stiamo forse entrando in una fase particolarmente critica. Inoltre, anche se non dovessimo trovare prove concrete di civiltà arcaiche, gli studi teorici aiutarebbero molto la comprensione di quelli che potrebbero essere i pericoli, e di quelli che invece non dovrebbero essere tali.
    Per concludere, non importa se abbiamo ancora dieci anni, molti secoli o solo 24 ore: penso che quanto prima cominciamo a cercare le tracce di nostri insospettabilmente illustri antenati, tanto presto metteremo sul giusto piano, se proprio non potremo soddisfare, alcuni interrogativi sulla direzione che prenderà l’umanità.

    • Adam said, on September 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      I read your article. Thank you for the recognition. I’ve been following the thread since I posted but I’ve been surprised how little interest this type of subject has been, but I don’t have any channels in university research or the scientific community, so there’s may be more buzz I just haven’t seen or heard any of it.

      I have to say that you make a great point about what we do if/when we know of our impending doom. As an individual there is very little that one can do. I would most likely spend time with my family with my last 24 hours on Earth. I wish more could be done, but it’s very unlikely I’d ever be able to avert the disaster or preserve my own DNA or that of my Family.

      I still believe Geologists may have the best tools to find evidence of advanced intelligent life. It would be advanced civilizations that we’d have the most success in finding. Those intelligent species capable of establishing cultures and societies that may not have become advanced enough to provide much in the way of geological evidence of their existence. They could have been destroyed by something other than self annihilation, perhaps a natural means – super volcanoes, asteroids, massive solar flares, ice ages, planetary warming, low yield gamma ray bursts, etc. A good example of one of these species is one we don’t have to look far back in the past for: Neanderthals.

      Neanderthals have evidence of primitive cultures and social societies. It would be evident that a number of events caused their extinction. If they were further back in time would we have the evidence to even fathom their existence? Would we question whether we were the only species capable of social interactions and the use of tools for survival? Honestly we still have large gaps of evidence for our own species rise into the modern day state we find ourselves. There is evidence of our evolution, but not as much to give a play by play of our evolution – there is a lot, but not everything.

      For a species to become advanced enough to realize it’s own existence will almost certainly become aware of it’s own demise. At our current state of advancement we would still have a very difficult time surviving some of the biggest global disasters that could be thrown at us. Even though it would be millions of years in the future our species would become extinct if we were unable to leave our planet and somehow survived the thousands of potential extinction events, the biggest threats being from our own species.

      So what do we do with this knowledge. Do we fend for ourselves, or do we try and preserve the knowledge of our species? If we do want to preserve this knowledge what would be the best way to preform such a feat? I believe I have a suggestion, and something that past species may have done as well. It’s staring us right in the face too. The Moon. A perfect arch. Built large enough and deep enough in enough areas across the floating island would be the best place to put objects that would almost never break down, never be damaged, almost the perfect environment to preserve the knowledge of a former species. Or, perhaps our own.

      I’ve been wrapping my head around the notion for a little while now and considering writing some fiction based on the thought. Hopefully I’ll be able to accomplish this task before someone else can beat me to the punch, but think of the plausibility of such a scenario. Any race advanced enough as our own would easily have been able to mount an expedition to the moon, perhaps even Mars or Venus. And, as geological evidence has shown, these two sister planets may have actually had the capabilities of supporting a life supporting biome. Our own planet has only provided evidence for a life sustaining system for half a billion years, these other two planets have existed for just as long a period and very well could have beaten us to the life supporting punch. But that speculation has had a foot hold in the scientific community for quite some time, pre-humanciviliations is something that I think few have considered as plausible as water on Mars or Venus. However, even as we launch expeditions to search for such possibilities on our closest planetary neighbor Mars we have failed to look for evidence of activity on the moon from previous intelligent life forms. At least publicly.

      I actually would be less than surprised if evidence had been found and it was being surprised. Just imagine the shock that would have befallen the world had the US or Russian governments found evidence of activity by intelligent beings on the Moon. Granted it may have also lead to an extreme enlightenment by our species, but it could have seriously pissed off a great many of those of our species that would find the thought inconceivable.

      Granted we couldn’t do much with only 24 hours and the moon, but perhaps we could still do something over the next few decades, or at least 100 years. Though the problem with doing something like this could have certainly befallen our predecessors – failure of forethought and funds. Money talks, and while it would mean the preservation of our species I see resistance to such construction of an Archive to be large and constant. And lastly, there’s always the ever present reality of does it even matter. Asking ourselves what would be important in creating such an arch would be the best way to promote the construction of such a monumental structure(s).

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on September 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm

        The search for pre-human civilizations is largely regarded as fringe science (at best). However, it does seem rather reasonable to consider that if the earth is billions of years old, some previous race could have arisen. Of course, I rather like sci-fi and especially like Lovecraft and this probably influences my view.

        I’m not sure if the government would cover up such finds, after all they did not hide the discovery of dinosaurs and neanderthals. But, perhaps if something truly threatening were found, it might be hidden (cue Raiders of the Lost Ark theme).

      • Piero said, on January 18, 2013 at 7:07 am

        Hi Adam,
        Thanks. Just one thing. In my article I pointed out one very important specultive starting point: the distruction of an archeocivilization MUST have been triggered by itself and NOT by a natural force. The autodestruction hypothesis is theoretically needed to explain why this civilization didn’t leave any important sign to us. If to destroy one civilization we have to wait for the coming of a big asteroid or the Big Big One earthquake, we may wait for hundreds of thousands of years, and by then the civilization will have the necessary knowledge to avoid it.
        Thus, only autodestruction is theoretically interesting while it has always stayed out of the speculations. I will post the 2nd part of my thinkings (in Italian, sorry).

        • Piero said, on January 18, 2013 at 7:16 am

          Here’s the working-draft text in Google Docs. You can comment directly on it.

          https://docs.google.com/document/d/12hF6JA90IQth_XGj89AfoRpIlpGSGiKkzmR1L5PWR8s/edit

          • Adam said, on January 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

            Awesome, great article. I had to throw it through google translate, so hopefully I haven’t lost anything in translation, but it was very interesting. Where are you looking to publish? For more feedback you may want to consider feedback from other forum sites. Are you familiar with Reddit.com?

            I’ll either post here with some more thoughts or add them through googledocs – I’m just afraid my comments may not make sense mixing my English in with your Italian.

            • Piero said, on January 25, 2013 at 4:50 am

              Thanks Adam.
              I think you refer to the draft in the GoogleDocs.
              In both cases my Italian is filled with mistakes and is both not polished, and quite intricated – in few word, enough to give a big headache to a GoogleTranslate server. I bet that you completely lost a not small percentage of the sentences! Too bad it is not even finished (it ends with a broken sentence!)
              As you may already imagine, I was not looking to actually publish it! I’m not a scholar (at least not of any adjacent discipline) and the article lack of any scientific or technical reference. In my scholar writings (I have been a music and opera historian) I always wrote in Italian. If I were about to write and publish on a SCIENTIFIC subject I would with no doubt use English! If I didn’t, it’s because it was exclusively directed to my brother eyes.
              So, your appreciation is very important to me.
              As you may imagine I have zero will to translate it. Much better rewrite it from scratch, and with scientific references, some actual calculations and more balance between pure speculation and actual facts.
              But this takes time and energy. I have none of them now!
              I may want to publish it in a blog on his own, but again, without translation!
              And as much as I could read, you always got the point and your English doesn’t sound “alien” with my Italian. Just more headaches for human and non-human translators!
              Uh, I also replied to your comments.

      • Ian James said, on July 16, 2014 at 9:16 am

        A wild horse can be tamed but one never puts a bridle on a tiger. Why is that? Because in the tiger there is a wicked, cruel & incorrigible force, so that we cannot expect anything good from him and have to destroy him to prevent him from doing harm.

        But the wild horse, on the other hand, however unmanageable & skittish he may be to begin with, can be controlled with a little effort & patience. In time he learns to obey and even to love us, and in the end he will of his own accord offer his mouth to the bit that is given to him.

        In men too there are rebellious & unmanageable desires & impulses, but these things are rarely uncontrollable like the tiger. They are more often like the wild horse: to be broken in they need a bridle; and the best bridle is the one you put on them yourself, the one called self-control.
        ~ The Mother, Words of Long Ago.

  37. G0m3r said, on July 5, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    G0m3r:

    “We as of yet have no fossils that suggest the existence of a pre-human intelligent species. However, intelligent beings are generally good at avoiding situations that tend to produce fossils. ”

    Actually yes there have been fossilized human remains in strata MUCH older than our supposed oldest ancestors. If you are truly curious about these kinds of ignored finds I suggest you read Forbidden Archeology. The authors went to great lengths to track down and document these anomalous finds which contradict the popular version of human history and evolutionary development. There is no shortage of these things.

  38. Anonymous said, on October 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I think there is equal possibility that their could be a species far more advance then us that call Earth home. They could simply have the technology to monitor our evolutionwithout being detected.

    • G0m3r said, on October 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Highly unlikely. They would be in direct competition with us for Earth’s resources. Plus we’d find evidence of them. All there is to find so far is human artifacts.

  39. hammerclawpc said, on January 6, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Any number of primordial non-technical species and cultures could have arisen over the course of geologic time. Localized and non-global, periodic extinction events would have wiped them out, and the very crust upon which the lived, subducted by the forces of plate tectonics into the bowels of the earth, any sign of their existence lost, forever.

    • Norm said, on January 18, 2013 at 11:18 am

      There is more than enough time for multiple civilizations like ours to come and go. If there were another technologically advanced cit on the distant past here the best place to find evidence of them would be on the moon and mars.

  40. L said, on May 1, 2013 at 3:42 am

    It has taken less than 6,000 years for homo sapiens to advance from stone to nanotech. A species that had similar characteristics that was able to maintain group cohesion could have accomplished as much as we have in as little time. If, instead of discovering and exploiting the electron they discovered instead the properties of the muon or other particle that gave them the ability to begin to manipulate gravity-their technology would rapidly advance to encompass feats we can barely imagine. Even if an elder race followed a path similar to ours, within 50 years the human species will be able to obtain near physical immortality and omniscience.

    At that point, with picometer level control of matter, fusion power and devices that can create any element, device or object will, or may have already, become a reality. It is then, when the fears and terrors of a long dark age have faded that a species will confront the possibility if survival not for a single generation, or decade or century-but for aeons. Over that time span hazards we view as remote-massive asteroid strikes, super-volcanoes, unpredictable climate changes-will become a certainty. How then to ensure long term survival? By vacating the thin and dangerous surface of a planet and using technology to build complexes deep within the mantle. No need for farmland, no need for anything when the capability of creating and combining any element can be accomplished with a technology so subtle and advance it is, as Arthur C. Clarke postulated, “indistinguishable from magic.”

    Who is to say that an elder race went extinct at all? What if they are a few kilometers beneath our very feet. What if they also took the next logical step and ventured forth into the solar system, establishing deep cities especially within the most apparent body for maintaining observation and control of their home world. The moon, constantly keeping the same face to us, ringing like a bell when struck. To them our warring, self destructive and unorganized species would seem a form of wild beast, monsters to be carefully avoided-managed, influenced. How then would they deal with us on a daily basis? What interactions, if any, would they have with our so-called “civilized” species over the millennium? What form would these contacts take and what would be their agenda?

    Wait, is that a rabbit?

  41. Pet Clothes for Small Dogs said, on September 9, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Pre-Human Civilizations | A Philosopher

    [...]I am now not sure where you are getting your info, however good topic.[...]

    • Albert Miller said, on April 26, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      You not believe a pre existent super civilization, you said no physical artifacts, or prove, exist, then read, FORBIDDEN ARCHEOLOGY, By; Cremo and Thompson. And also, look at the monolithic ruins, with encoded mathematic, all around the world.

  42. Anonymous said, on July 9, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I think that every one has a point here but if this was to be true it would undermine thousands of years of belief ,religion and Science.However, whose to say that the even the the technology that is begin develop today are not new ideas, but memories that we are recreating .For, one idea leads to another faster then the first came .It could be knowledge is embedded in our DNA or in our brains but we have yet to find a ways to understand . I mean we have millions of synapses in our brain but we only us 10% of our brain what of the other 90% percent ?. For, instance why do we dream of places we haven’t been to and of people we haven’t met.Dreams might just be memories of our ancestors .It is simple we have record knowledge that human came into the picture between 15,000 and 25,000 years ago but our world has existed for billions of years. I mean it is possible that we had a intelligent civilization living here and through natural occurrence such as disease or climate disaster most of them died out and the once that survived are who we descendent from and humanity had to start all over again but unlike them we have already have the knowledge of survival that they passed on to use .

  43. snow said, on July 27, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Intelligence does not have to mean advanced technology. We only have recently started to use modern technology. We did not suddenly become intelligent 200 years ago when we discovered some modern technology advancements. We are always looking for higher levels of technology for another intelligent species, but a good percentage of people in our world still do not use electricity. A previous society of non humans may have developed technology, but not wanted to use anything but their old ways, and only sparingly used modern conveniences. We would never find anything of their civilization. It’s possible none of the great extinctions were caused by asteroids but by a species that flourished. Or maybe they are still here but evolved away from intelligence. To me if a species evolves away from an old path, it does not mean it is extinct but has changed. Their ancestors could still here. If humans evolved into a new species they would be our children, and not some species that magically just came to be. Maybe humans had civilizations much older than what we have found, but they have been lost forever since all buildings were made of wood and are now just dirt.

  44. john de rooy said, on September 7, 2014 at 6:12 am

    it could explain the ancient aliens and vimara’s. the drawings found in india and tibet could be a leftover of a civilization that was before us. airplanes, flying saucers. its all in the drawings. maybe thats what ended them.
    maybe

    • Adam said, on September 8, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Today, specialization is the key word in our culture. We have people who are only trained in specific duties. Even agriculture has become specialized, enough that most would be unable to maintain basic farms. When society breaks down, or becomes stressed to the point of failure, most of its inhabitants return to the most basic forms of survival. No one cares what temperature iron must melt at before being tempered with carbon, or what materials go into manufacturing gun powder, or how many electron valances are in gold. The most destabilized and war torn countries import their weapons and fight for scarce resources because there is no time or ability to establish the necessary facilities to manufacture or produce the resources required and fight a war.

      These ancient cities, pinnacles achievements of their time, could have been brought down by something as simple as attrition. Disease was probably also prevalent – as it’s clear the cultures were masters of stone and engineering, but little points to their ability to provide medical care necessary to support such large populations. Perhaps these are examples of our human capacity to reach critical mass with certain tools at hand. Impossible for them to develop further not because of the lack of ingenuity, but the lack of understanding. Specialization can breed amazing technological developments and oppressing social structures. Once the masses supporting the specialized higher classes revolt, the higher classes fall and their art and knowledge is lost. It will be found again because it doesn’t disappear, but when it’s rediscovered and how it’s implemented can provide a different outcome to the tragedies that came before.


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