It's the end of Cretaceous period, around 66 million years BCE. Over the last few hundred thousand years a species of human sized dinosaurs has evolved the ability to use tools, and few thousand years ago they entered the agricultural revolution. Now, a small kingdom of 1 million Dino-People rules over what one day will be Southern Europe.

They are in what we would call an early bronze age. The best real life analogue would be Egypt around 3000 BCE.

Bronze tools are present, but stone tools are still much more common. Golden jewelry exists but is very uncommon, reserved for priests and aristocracy. No iron or steel in any form.

There are few fairly big cities, with the capital having a population of around 50 thousand people. Near the capital stands a megalithic pyramid temple made out of sandstone and limestone. It's close in size to the Great Pyramid.

The dead are traditionally burned, with their ashes and bones buried without a coffin.

There are no other major civilizations, with Dino-people outside of the kingdom living either as hunter gatherers or in small farming communities.

Unfortunately, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event happens, and despite Dino priests sacrificing hundreds to please the Gods, their civilization collapses over the following decades, and their species becomes extinct just like other dinosaurs of that period.

Would there be any traces that would distinguish the remains of the Dino-people from other non-intelligent dinosaur? Would any of their tools or buildings survive for over 66 million years in a recognizable form?

  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicate of If dinosaurs had a civilization, how primitive must it have been to leave no trace in the present? $\endgroup$
    – Alexander
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ Hello @Cas_D, welcome to Worldbuilding. I apologize that your first question is going to get closed, but it's been asked before. Unfortunately, it was asked in a way that wasn't obvious if you searched for it. If you'll forgive us, this is actually good as the two questions together capture the proverbial 99% of the ways people might search for the answer. However, I do recommend that you look through that other question and its answers, because if you feel that it doesn't cover your issue, you can bring that up (and should). Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


Southern Europe was mostly underwater in the Cretaceous, with many islands. Notably, the Alpine orogeny had not happened yet: the Alps, the Apennines, the Dinaric Alps, the Balkans, the Carpatians all were yet in the future. This means that immense forces were to reshape the landscape dramatically.

  • "Would there be any traces that would distinguish the remains of the Dino-people from other non-intelligent dinosaur?"

    Their anatomy would be strikingly different, for a start. If some of them had the chance to become fossilized, we would immediately notice that their hands were very not dino-like, for example. (No known dinosaur had hands capable of manipulating tools.) If they had agriculture, we would probably notice that their teeth were not dino-like.

  • "Would any of their tools or buildings survive for over 66 million years in a recognizable form?"

    Buildings, absolutely not. Those immense forces which were to raise mountain chains would obliterate any puny human structure.

    Tools, just maybe, most likely not. Bronze tools will most likely become copper and tin ore (= dirt). Stone tools will most likely be eroded back into ordinary stone. (Remember those immense forces raising mountains? Every fossil we find from those time is crushed flat.)

    Gold jewelry, just maybe, much more likely than tools. Gold is pretty much indestructible. They would of course be unrecognizable, but finding a shapeless gold piece is a place where there should be no gold will puzzle geologists.

On the other hand

It all depends on luck. Remember Archaeopterix? A dozen fossil specimens were found, dating to the late Jurassic; that's before the Cretaceous. The fossils bear perfect impressions of the feathers: similar luck would give us the fossil of a bipedal dinosaur, with unusual hands capable of tool manipulation, covered with woven textiles. With more luck, a few glass beads and a few pieces of gold. That would be a very strong hint.


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