Leaving our mark - fossils of the future
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November 3, 2012: The article reports on the way that the recent human changes to the environment might show up to future geologists as the Anthropocene, the newest era of geology. A major sign will be the fossils of domesticated animals buried in a flood or desert, which will be found on every continent and represent just a few species. The imprints of our crops and their pollen will turn up next to them. A human corpse that finds its way under sediment might turn up as a fossil. A subtler clue will be very high nitrogen levels in the rock, mostly due to synthetic fertilizers. A mass extinction of animal species may be noticed, too. Many cities near the coast are likely to become fossils as the water rises and sediment buries them. The concrete stays as a limestone mineral, brickwork is dulled, glass becomes milky, and steel corrodes.


Game and Story Use

  • Any of these signs, if found today, would hint at the existence of an ancient civilization, so they make good plot points.
    • An advanced civilization in a sci-fi context might leave more peculiar traces, which various interests may want to exploit.
    • The iridium spike mentioned in the article might not have been caused by an asteroid impact. Maybe the iridium was just important to the Precursors.
  • For related ideas, look at Post-Apocalyptic Decay.
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