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Tom Mazanec
2004-Nov-18, 06:35 PM
OK, some scientist in a military lab goes "Oops" and drops a sealed vial, breaking it. Within a year, all members of the Primate Order have died in the resulting pandemic. Will there ever be a 2004-level civilization again? What if it is all the mammals, or even all the vertebrates, die? Will a new technophilic sapient species evolve? Will natural resources recover? Does the biosphere have enough time?

Humphrey
2004-Nov-18, 07:17 PM
All resources like Oil will recover eventually. Trees will regrow, and othe rplants and animal will re-establish. But it till take a very long time to create a truely intelegent species. There need to be a environment that a larger brain is necessary instead of sharper nails, a better color, etc. I would guess at a minimum, 1 million years.

Evan
2004-Nov-18, 07:29 PM
One million years? I doubt it. It's been 60 million since the dominant family on this planet was toasted.

nat
2004-Nov-18, 07:31 PM
the dinasours died out 65million years ago approx,which was when mammals started to flourish.
so im guessing a similar amount of time would be needed for anouther inteligent,sentient species to arise if the conditions were right.
but im no expert lol :o

ToSeek
2004-Nov-18, 08:09 PM
60 million sounds like a better bet to me than 1, unless you see a species well on its way to sapience already. A million years ago genus Homo was already over a million years old.

eburacum45
2004-Nov-18, 10:08 PM
If a sentient species did not arise in the next few interglacial periods of our ongoing ice age there would be a problem;

carbon dioxide has been slowly removed from the atmosphere over the history of theEarth, and the ice ages might get longer and more severe until we have a permanent glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps a sentient species of some sort could evolve in the warm tropics, but the world will eventually warm up again, perhaps as more carbon dioxide is outgassed (this happened in the Precambrian)
or more likely when the Sun slowly warms up.
The warm period which follows could allow another sentient species to evolve- if the vertebrates are all gone, my bet would be that the molluscs could evolve a kind of land based intelligence, or the hymenoptera could develop some sort of collective consciousness, but only as a response to radical environmental change- ants and bees have not changed much for tens of millions of years...

they would have to develop space flight before the sun goes red giant; the outer solar system will be habitable for a short period, but if they want to continue as civilised species they will have to colonise other star systems.

Tacitus
2004-Nov-18, 11:16 PM
It all depends on the odds of intelligence winning out over all other evolutionary pressures. If it turns out that we are the only technological species in this galaxy, then another species rising to our level may not be very likely - especially if the higher orders of mammals and vertebrates are killed off also.

Remember, the dinosaurs appeared over 200my ago and have never achieved our level of intelligence - for those that survived the meteor impacts, evolving into birds was the path they took.

I don't think we understand all the factors required in steering our evolution towards a large and capable brain. Until we do, we don't know if all the right circumstances would happen again for some other species.

In my opinion, if we kill ourselves off, that's it. Other species will come to dominate life on Earth, but the odds of any reaching our level of technology are slim to none.

Evan
2004-Nov-18, 11:45 PM
Remember, the dinosaurs appeared over 200my ago and have never achieved our level of intelligence - for those that survived the meteor impacts, evolving into birds was the path they took.

It's arguable that Alex, the African grey parrot is more intelligent than some (maybe a lot) people. Give his kind a few million more years without humans around, who knows?

About Alex (http://www.123compute.net/dreaming/knocking/alex.html)

parallaxicality
2004-Nov-19, 12:05 AM
If an intelligent civilisation did not arise on Earth in the past (as with say, the dinosaurs or the fauna of the Permian), then should we conclude that it took 600 million years (I believe the length of time that complex animals have existed on Earth) for a single intelligent species to evolve on this planet? And therefore that it would take another 600 million years for another to arise?

If we assume a smaller span of time, should we then entertain the possibility that the dinosuars or other extinct orders evolved intelligence? After all, the fossil record is very incomplete, and I doubt archaelogical finds would survive from millions of years in the past- would they not have been recycled by the movements of the earth or erased by erosion aeons ago?

Evan
2004-Nov-19, 12:34 AM
OK, that explains it. It all becomes clear. It wasn't an asteroid that hit by chance. It was intentionally directed by the aliens to wipe out a planet full of Barneys.

parallaxicality
2004-Nov-19, 01:01 AM
I'm not sure if that was directed at me or not, but I apologise if my speculations seem outlandish. Nonetheless, that is all they are; speculations

eburacum45
2004-Nov-19, 01:06 AM
...should we then entertain the possibility that the dinosuars or other extinct orders evolved intelligence? After all, the fossil record is very incomplete, and I doubt archaelogical finds would survive from millions of years in the past- would they not have been recycled by the movements of the earth or erased by erosion aeons ago?

Since fossil bones are preserved, some of the trappings of civilisation might well survive as fossils or inclusions in sedimentary rocks;

I think for instance any dinosaur civilisation will have gone through hundreds of thousands of years of stone age technology for a start; worked flints should survive.
Much of modern civilisation would not be so durable, but the dinosaur equivalent of coke bottles and eyeglasses would survive in a recognisably artificial form, and golden artefacts amongst others would resist corrosion. Once you saw the well preserved stuff other more corroded evidence could perhaps be reconstructed.

Humphrey
2004-Nov-19, 01:52 AM
I said a minimum of a million. I did not say a maximum. :-)

ozsmurf
2004-Nov-19, 04:17 AM
If the conditions are right for the evolution of a technolical species they will evolve, if not they won't. The timeframe would depend a lot on what the interconnections between species is. As I understand it sometimes evolution can work with almost blinding speed and at others hardly move.

The sharks, turtles, crocs etc have barely changed since before the dinosaurs were here.

Dog and cat breeds are being changed all the time (guided evolution but still evolution). After mass extinctions a huge variety of new species have come on the scene and then the number tends to drop off.

If we disappear I would say that would have an impact on the biosphere such that a lot of new species would evolve to fill the gap, this would then stabilise and decrease until the next change.

Would any of these evolve to be technological? There have been (i think) 4 mass extinctions we know of and one of these enabled us to evolve. Does that mean the chances are 1 in 4?

pghnative
2004-Nov-19, 02:38 PM
60 million sounds like a better bet to me than 1, unless you see a species well on its way to sapience already. Unless of course a large black monolith appeared --- then it would be a lot shorter than even one million years. :D

beskeptical
2004-Nov-25, 08:25 AM
OK, some scientist in a military lab goes "Oops" and drops a sealed vial, breaking it. Within a year, all members of the Primate Order have died in the resulting pandemic. Will there ever be a 2004-level civilization again? What if it is all the mammals, or even all the vertebrates, die? Will a new technophilic sapient species evolve? Will natural resources recover? Does the biosphere have enough time?Yes; yes, another life form would fill the gap; yes, yes, and ? Why would the biosphere run out of time? Are you estimating the Earth only has another 4 billion years left?

We have a lot of genetic diversity that has a high likelihood of leaving a few survivors from the pandemic, though.

eburacum45
2004-Nov-25, 01:01 PM
The Earth's biosphere will probably not survive the next four billion years; as the Sun slowly gets hotter, it will heat our world gradually until it will probably be too warm to sustain a complex biosphere by about one billion years from now. If humanity's descendants are still around they would probably be able to terraform the heated Earth right up to the time it goes red giant, four or five billion years from now;

but if we die out there is no reason at all to expect that a new intelligent species will take our place.

Complex land based ecologies existed on our planet in the Carboniferous, the Permian, the Mesozoic and the Territary periods; none of these ecologies produced civilisation despite being very diverse.

Earth will become a wild planet again without humanity; and if you remove mammals perhaps only the birds would have a good chance of becoming civilised. But it seems likely that a bird civilisation would be very different to our own.

Tom Mazanec
2004-Nov-25, 02:08 PM
"The Future Is Wild" suggested Squid descendents as the next civilization...in over 200 million years.

Moose
2004-Nov-25, 02:43 PM
and the ice ages might get longer and more severe until we have a permanent glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere.

Basically, your typical Canadian winter.