I’ve been fascinated by human history timelines; as graphical communications of great efficiency in showing us just how ancient we are as a species, how much we don’t know about ourselves, and how ridiculously short today’s western culture, habits, ideas, and patterns are.
Amazingly, there are very few decent scientific (yes, read non-Creationist) human history timelines freely available on the Web. Unless my googling abilities are just a bit screwed today.
The one below magnifies the last 50,000 years before present (BP).
‘[Mitochondrial Eve] lived approximately 200,000 years ago…
Approximately 70,000 years ago humanity was down to around 15,000 people. It showed the reason behind the bottleneck was an [interglacial period] that lasted about a 1,000 years.’ [Source.]
Also from ‘todayifoundout.com’:
To give you an idea of just how old Gobekli Tepe is
consider the following timeline:
- 1644 AD – Construction on the Great Wall of China ended with a total length in excess of 20,000 km.
- 1400-1600 AD – The moai on Easter Island were erected.
- 1372 AD – The Leaning Tower, in Pisa, Italy, was completed after 200 years of construction.
- 1113-1150 AD – The Khmer of Southeast Asia built the enormous temple to Vishnu, Angkor Vat.
- 200 AD – The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico was completed.
- 220 BC – Construction on the Great Wall of China began.
- 432 BC – The “apotheosis of ancient Greek architecture,” the Parthenon, was completed.
- [Added from source] 1000 BC – a rough age of Derinkuyu – an underground city for 20,000 people in Turkey discovered in the 1960’s; [but it’s really hard to date accurately so could be older. One theory is that a glacial period gave people the drive to build down, which would date Derinkuyu to about 75,000 years BP.
- [Source] 1894 BC – Babylonia
- [Added from WikiPedia] 1627 BC The Theran eruption buried the Akrotiri Settlement: three-storey houses, plumbing, drainage. The Knossos part of this civilization was only discovered in 1900, and the Akrotiri part only in the 1960’s.
- 3000-1500 BC – About 5,000 years ago, a group of crazy Neolithic Britons hauled enormous four-ton stones over 140 miles to erect Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain.
- [Source] 3,800 BC – Ur (until recently believed to have been the first city state)
- 4500-2000 BC – Pre-Celts cut and placed over 3,000 stones in Carnac, France.
- 9130-8800 BC – The first 20 round structures at Gobekli Tepe were built.
(I’ve left the Egyptians out of this completely, but anyway, mainstream opinion puts Phaeronic culture way more recently than Gobekli; and controversial opinion would put the Great Pyramid and Sphynx into the previous warm period – which if found to be provable would only underline the argument I’m making here.)
You could then also add:
- 11,000 BC – Most recent glacial period
- 68,000 BC – A warm period
- 138,000 BC – A glacial
- 148,000 BC – A warm period
- 200,000 BC – Mitochondrial Eve
What I want to know is…
When we consider Gobekli Tepe pre-dating the Egyptian pyramids by more than 5,000 years, when Akrotiri seems so incongruously modern compared to Stonehenge and when its technology shames that of the Romans and Greeks which it pre-dates, yet has only been excavated since the 1960’s…
…when Mitochondrial ‘Eve’ is not one but two warm periods in the past…
what are the huge chunks of our social, cultural, technological history we don’t know because glacial periods have swept away the evidence, volcanoes have buried the buildings, or our theories have become persuasive enough to call off the search for any evidence that may contradict.
Advanced human cultures of the sort entertained by those who like to postulate about ‘ancient aliens’ suddenly seem more plausible in this context because we don’t know what we don’t know.
Much more than that; because Earth is on the edge of its habitable zone (yup, that’s right, Earth is not super-habitable which may put it in the minority for ‘Earthlike planets’), and we have glacials we may never get to find out all that once was.
We are truly ancient.
We may have traveled to the stars once before already.
We are old enough to have done so.
According to some storytellers on the Internet, we’re about to find out.
There’s an even bigger question though
If Earth is not super-habitable like some of its neighbouring peer worlds are now thought likely to be, evolved life on those worlds may have very roughly speaking an
180,000 years head start
on our own species.
We’ve gone from industrial revolution to Honda’s Asimo in just over 200 years. Just think what a 180,000 year handicap might add to techno/physio/psycho logical advancement for our neighbour species.
There’s a popular argument going round right now that given just how many habitable planets there must be, it makes no statistical sense that we haven’t made contact with ETI’s yet. So it must be because intelligent life has a habit of either making itself extinct or breaking through that barrier and growing past that self-extinction point. The argument continues that all our neighbours must have killed themselves off, so what are we about to do? The same? Or grow past that point.
It’s a strange theory to me; it projects human problems into the cosmos for a start. But even with that aside, it’s based on the SETI approach for contact-making with radio signals; the only reason for the radio silence is because intelligent life tends to self-destruct. That’s what the argument is postulating.
If Earth’s habitability is indeed less than average, giving us our ice ages and the evolution of intelligent life on Earth a stop-start pace with 50,000 to 100,00 year set-backs, we should start taking a less proud, less human-centric perspective on ETI.
Because even if you take into account other evolutionary set-backs which must be cosmos-wide (meteors, volcanoes); holding an Earth human history timeline in hand, all our local ETI’s have a 50 to 100,000 years head start on us and the start of our search for radio signals (if they ever had them) is a little late to say the least.
In our galactic region we could easily be coming into the high technology game last – not first. Our neighbours could well have forgotten what radio signals or for that matter digital signals even were. I mean, do we remember what technology we had in the warm period of Mitochondrial eve? No! We don’t even remember what happened two warm periods after that because until recently, we thought we came out of Africa.
Now it transpires that we didn’t come out of Africa; we simply recovered out of Africa after the last great global event, and that we had spread out around the globe quite well at least once before.