a question I love to ponder

I recently read a lovely article in the Atlantic, which has (somewhat slightly) caused me to reconsider my current course in life.  But then, I have a list of things that I would love to do, as I’m sure we all do, beyond the things I’m doing now.

The article speculates on how we might be able to determine whether there was an advanced civilization on Earth millions or tens of millions of years ago.  If memory serves, and I’m not entirely sure that it does, this is an idea that while not the main idea, occurs in The Toolmaker Koan by John McLaughlin in 1988.

But this idea, that we are not the first advanced civilization on Earth, is an idea that I have to admit some fascination with.  We know remarkably little of the history of our planet and of life on our planet.  Our written record goes back only a few thousand years, and the fossil record beyond that is sparse and gets sparser as we go back in time.

After all, every year brings discoveries about our own lineage and that of our cousins that causes us to reconsider our own story on the planet, and by all available evidence, our story is a fairly recent story.

There is a part of me that’s sad that the article concludes that there probably wasn’t an advanced civilization of dinosaurs, for instance, though I remain ever hopeful.  But closer to home, and this is something I’ve speculated a bit about in Giants, Neanderthals and old stories written some long time ago, that I also have hopes that our history and that of our hominid cousins is culturally more complicated than we currently believe.

~ by Jim Anderson on 21 April 2018.

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