What will be left of humanity in 100 million years? Geologist Jan Zalasiewicz of the University of Leicester suggests that hyper-evolved rats or aliens (his picks for future scientists) will find scant clues. There will be faint fossils and chemical traces, all packed into thin layers of rock easily disrupted by water, weather and geologic processes. So exactly what evidence of our existence would these future archaeologists find?The answer is a bit dismal: not much. All our technology, culture, and art would be reduced to a thin smear of sediment. Our grandest edifices would amount to a few millimeters in a core sample. Analysis might reveal the pollutants we deposited so vigorously during our brief tenure. A debate might erupt in the journals of the day: did the peculiarly rapid climate change coincide with our era coincidentally, or did we cause it ourselves? Oddly (for a geologist), Zalasiewicz seems very concerned with the opinions of the distant future, vexing over the fact that they might call us the "amazingly clever and utterly foolish two-legged ape." He's even published a book on the subject, The Earth After Us: What Legacy Will Humans Leave In The Rocks? Image by: mobilestreetlife. The Earth After Us: What Legacy Will Humans Leave In The Rocks? [Science Daily]
I'll tell you what's really interesting about this. If 100 million years is enough to erase virtually every trace of human civilization, then HYPOTHETICALLY, a civilization of super-smart dinosaurs could have grown up and died, say, 200 million years ago, and there'd be basically no way for us to know about it.