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Old September 25 2013, 03:32 PM   #71
Re: The episode "Distant Origin"

R. Star wrote: View Post
Did it occur that both of you guys aren't too far apart from each other? You both concede that bones survive over 65 million years, you both concede that some of our materials will survive over 65 million years. You both concede it'll be the vast minority of those things.
There's no "concession" that bones will survive over 65 million years. For one thing, fossils aren't bones. I've already explained that. For another thing, Tiberius seems to be under the impression that our civilization will leave huge buildings and other impressive artifacts intact across millions of years, so that non-human intelligences would be able to recognize our existence. That's just not going to happen. I would recommend he watch a show called Life After People to get a sense of how fast human-made structures decay without maintenance.

Again, we are agreed. However, I must point out that this same luck which allows an eggshell to survive for 70 million years could also let a metal watch band survive for 70 million years.
A metal watch band? No. Didn't I point out that metal oxidizes?

It wouldn't be exactly the same. But we would expect to have some things in common, such as the wheel.
What would those wheels be made out of, though? Wood? Metals and rubbers? Neither material would survive. Maybe if a wooden wagon wheel off a Voth wagon were petrified somehow... but what would the odds of that be?

Possible, but such a civilisation would not be the one suggested in Distant Origin. Any culture that is able to develop spaceflight to the degree that they can travel across the galaxy is unlikely to be one using primarily wood and clay. The need to develop sophisticated and precision objects would require them to move beyond wood and clay tools.
What? We possess a high-tech society, yet some of the most coveted homes are built of wood. The rich and famous of today love their rustic log cabins. And you can make incredible structures out of wood and clay. People in the southwest United States still build adobe homes now. I'd say that having an advanced technology in one area doesn't mean they have to be advanced in all areas, certainly not all the same areas we are "advanced" in.

Technology does not exist in a vacuum. Technology developed for one thing will find its way into other areas of life.
Yeah, so? How does that impact the survival of technology across deep time? I love my iPad, but it's not going to be around in 65 million years.

Then how can you know they even had a culture? I know, I'm being difficult, but the point is that just the act of you assuming they have a culture is you assuming something about their culture - an act you said was impossible.

One would think that we would at least have something like, "Our analysis of this bone shows it was broken in five places and then healed. The animal could not have survived by itself while it healed, therefore it had other individuals helping it." And that's even if we can't get the, "This break was healed by some kind of advanced technology."
Animals help each other all the time. What makes you think we could distinguish animal from intelligent being based on a bone that healed?

For example, in 50 million years, when future scientists find evidence of Humans, how likely is it that they'll also find evidence of dental work? Or people who have metal plates attached to their bones? Even if the metal has gone, the bones will still show some evidence. yes, I know that only a small percentage of the population will fossilise, but we have several factors working in our favour. First, the sheer number of us. Secondly, the fact we tend to bury our dead rather than leave them on exposed riverbanks like dinosaurs. Thirsdly, the fact that lots of people have evidence on their skeletons which could conceivably last for millions of years.
I'm unconvinced. Yes, we bury our dead, but in vaults that keep the elements out. I have no idea what will be preserved in these modern (Western) burial chambers that we use, but I'd not be surprised if people from "less advanced" (non-Western) cultures were the dominant ones that become fossilized, while our advanced attempts to preserve the body after death just end up back-firing. (Say, why do we go to so much trouble to preserve bodies that we seal up in the ground and never look at again?)

No, I'm not being obtuse. The episode stated that the Voth were descended from hadrosaurs (not a suggestion, it states it outright), and we have found hadrosaur nests. How is this being obtuse?
It's obtuse because "hadrosaur" is a family of dinosaurs, not a particular species. And those "hadrosaur" nests could be from the pre-intelligent Voth ancestors, or from contemporary cousins.

Hell, the whole discussion of the episode wasn't what interested me. I was interested in discussing the real potential of artifacts from our time surviving millions of years. It's clear to me that some people have no clue how fragile our modern structures and materials are, and how fast they'll decay away. It's also clear that some people have no clue how long a million years is, much less 65 million years.
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