In millions of years, a more evolved human species, or perhaps aliens, will visit Earth. They will dig deep into the rock to find the remnants of our civilization today.
Will those people find what is left then? And how will they redraw our relationship with the surrounding creatures?
To answer this question, paleontologists Karen Koy, from Missouri Western State University and Roy Plotnick, from the University of Illinois, Chicago, studied nearly 200 articles about fossils and burial practices. , cattle processing … Their new synthesis study in Anthropocene gives us a scenario about this one million years later.
To give you a glimpse of that very interesting future, Science Magazine had an interview with Karen Koy and Roy Plotnick. Let’s watch it:
What will the fossils of our time, after a million years tell our descendants?
Q: Who exactly will discover our fossils after millions of years? Will it be a more evolved human species, or an alien?
Roy Plotnick: Well, of course this question raises another question: Can humans last that long? As a science fiction fan, I’m optimistic to say: “Well, maybe our descendants will at some point look back [lịch sử của tổ tiên mình]”. I am that much more likely to happen than having aliens.
H: At the moment, modern people are capturing every moment of their lives [với những cuốn sách, những file ghi âm, những video], then is fossils still necessary?
R.P .: If you’ve ever read many science fiction novels, you’ll be able to imagine the things that disappear in most human destruction scenarios – paperwork, computer data, and the like. . So what is left over? It was anything buried in the ground.
Karen Koy: And even if you have those data, they often cannot be decoded. A number of scientists have recently tried to decode records from a South American civilization thousands of years ago. They have encoded data into nodes in a necklace of beads or a number of different stylish strands.
And think about it, even if computer code records were saved decades ago, modern computers can’t decode it now, because the data systems they use are so different without there is a connection. So 2 million years from now, is that possible?
With the books, the audio files, the videos being recorded, are fossils still necessary?
H: In the article, you said that the places where fossils formed in the past so far have completely changed. Why is that and how does the process happen?
R.P .: If you look at the natural locations where the fossils were formed, in caves, any swampy areas, canals, rivers and lakes, all those places are now heavily degraded. masonry by human activity.
People blocked rivers to build dams, we drained the swamps. Humans have altered their natural environment and soil surface so much that researchers say we have altered nature at least equal to or even more than the natural process of automatic transformation. .
H: You wrote that when people and animals die today, they will leave a “Signals specific corpses of Anthococene century“. What’s that?
K.K .: The human population has exploded in the mid-20th century, thanks to modern medicine and antibiotics. That means a lot of people were buried in an orderly manner in the cemeteries. Those are not the heaps of bones like we see with dinosaurs.
These lined-up graves basically exist everywhere in the world, so you’ll find human bones in identical models everywhere.
I didn’t know that using the word “Measles liver snail“Is this all right here, but imagine you are an alien from this world and find it covered only by such bodies, arranged in such an order all over the world the surface of the earth, try to think about what that feeling would be like?
H: Which animal is most likely to appear in fossil records of the future?
R.P .: Definitely chickens, because today we have lots of chickens. Both cows and pigs too because we raise them a lot. The number of people, pigs and cows will make up the majority. No single wildlife population can be that many, even close to that.
Who will find us, our descendants or aliens?
Q: How can future paleontologists distinguish domestic animals from their wild ancestors?
K.K .: When raising other creatures for meat, we tend to develop muscle for them. Therefore, you will want to see their bones bigger to support their larger body weight. For domesticated animals like dogs and cats, we will breed them so cute, like dogs with shorter snouts and bigger eyes.
Therefore, depending on the ways they are bred, there are different characteristics that paleontologists can rely on to say: “This may be a domesticated species or it may have been raised for meat or used for labor. “
Q: How do you think future archeologists will reconstruct our relationship with cats and dogs, based solely on the fossils they find?
K.K .: Of all animals, dogs and cats are most likely to be buried similar to humans. There are pet cemeteries that have been built into parks reminiscent of humans.
So if anything could be found by chance, it would be cemetery dogs and cats that looked different from the holes people dug up to throw pigs down in an innocent way.
I think it is a sign that we treat dogs and cats in a different way than pigs, cows and chickens.
R.P .: Will they think we worship cats and dogs? I have no idea at all. Explaining our religion today is like an answer to yes, but I hope future researchers will be more sophisticated than that.