# Would we be able to determine if dinosaurs developed intelligence and wiped themselves out? [duplicate]

If a species of dinosaur were to have evolved intelligence and tool use, and had managed to get from there to technology that could wipe out all dinosaurs within 50000 years, would there be any evidence for us to find?

Assuming that they managed to construct cities which are reasonably approximations of our own cities, what evidence would be left if they had an ELE 65 million years ago?

What if they wiped themselves out by the use of nuclear weaponry?

What if they wiped themselves out by dinothropic climate change?

What if they wiped out all other species of dinosaurs and then died by plague?

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• "Troodon" - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troodon - IF Dinosaurs did evolve intelligence it would probably be these guys. I choose to make a comment because an answer would be Not Necessarily. I have no desire to get into arguments based on Dinosaurs created everything the same way we did as there is not evidence or proof they would. It is clear we see them as incapable of having "science" again no proof they didn't. By most accounts Troodon and Lucy were about equal (not in the same time). Troodon had ~8 Million years to evolve. Lucy ~2.5 Million years. Harry Harrison West of Eden Trilogy ... – Enigma Maitreya Apr 11 '17 at 7:27
• is based on parallel universe, Dinosaurs and their Science was based on Genetic Manipulation of ... well everything to meet their needs. Being a 70 out of 100 read, it does highlight the difficulty of proving they had science and could do themselves in. "West of Eden" - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_of_Eden – Enigma Maitreya Apr 11 '17 at 7:35
• "difficulty of proving they had science" If they can understand and manipulate genetic code, then they have science. As science is defined as "systematic way to understand things". – Euphoric Apr 11 '17 at 7:38
• I am confused, how could we detect they had science if their main science was genetic engineering and of course we KNOW that they were all just dumb animals. – Enigma Maitreya Apr 11 '17 at 7:45
• @EnigmaMaitreya You don't need to understand X to know X is somehow different from other things. Also, there are often other, supporting, things that happen alongside X. – Euphoric Apr 11 '17 at 7:47

Yes. We would find remnants of civilization. This is exactly same question as "Would future archeologist know what happened if humanity perished". The answers are always "it would be pretty clear what happened". Humans cause massive changes in our environment and leave behind massive amounts of resources. If someone found this, those remains would be clearly differentiated from natural rock layers. It would be clear from ice cores / sea layers that we pumped massive amounts of CO2 into atmosphere and that we increased temperature drastically.

Nukes are even clearer indicator, as they leave lots of long-lasting radioactive material, that will deposit itself into rock layers.

• What would a Dinosaur City Look Like? What would it be made of? We certainly are finding their .... bones. "Troodon" - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troodon - Was about the same size and body mass as Lucy. Had about 8 Million years to evolve before The Extinction. Lucy to us is thought to be ~2.5 Million years. Troodon had opposing fingers that could grasp and manipulate. Troodon was about the same intelligence as Lucy. Troodon had binocular forward looking eyes. Troodon had larger brains compared to other Dinosaurs than Lucy did to other primates. What would a Dinosaur Civilization look like – Enigma Maitreya Apr 11 '17 at 7:17
• @EnigmaMaitreya "What would a Dinosaur Civilization look like?" Does that really matter? All you need to know that dinosaur civilization affects it's environment in a way that is unique. This question also depends on what you mean by "civilization". Were, for example, early hominids, a civilization? – Euphoric Apr 11 '17 at 7:22
• Yes as pointed out in West of Eden, their Science exceeded our own knowledge of Genetic Engineering. How does one go about finding Genetically Engineered life? That enables them to do themselves in. Honestly I am not knocking your answer, I am pointing out you may be to anthropomorphic in your view point. – Enigma Maitreya Apr 11 '17 at 7:36
• To get to that point they'll need to do the stuff we did, surface mining etc. Sure we may not be able to detect the end but be will be able to detect the start. – Mormacil Apr 11 '17 at 8:28

# Mining.

When humanity came around, metals were found in (relatively) easily accessible places and we could get them out with fairly primitive tools.

As all the easily accessible metals were used up, we got better tools and started digging deeper. And deeper. Today we dig very deep for rocks containing small amounts of metal that we use complicated processes to extract.

If the dinosaurs, or anybody, had been at a comparable level of civilization, the scars of their mining would be very visible. Every mountain that was old enough would be mined out.

There has been a few years since the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and new mountains has risen. However, most mountains are older than the dinosaurs and none of them bears the scars of mining other than those we humans have made ourselves.

I am assuming that all civilizations want metals. I feel that this is a fairly safe assumption since metals are so very useful. They are hard and strong, they can be forged. Humanity knew nothing better until very recently. Sure, wood is better for some things, bone for some things, glass for some, but the overall champion is the metals.

# Trash

One of the hallmarks of civilization is that we make trash piles. We don't want our garbage to be in the way of our activities so we pile it up in one place to get it out of the way. This is were all the metal that is "used up" go.

We haven't found any dinosaur trash piles. After so many years, we wouldn't be able to recognize any of the items in the pile, but it would still be an area of the ground with a very peculiar composition, and not looking like any rock we know about. We have fairly good theories on how rocks are formed, and this patch of ground would look wrong in all sorts of ways.

It is possible they were even more advanced than us and recycled everything, but they would still have large concentrations of odd materials in various places. Most notably cities, but also air ports, rail roads and others. Again, we would not understand what we were looking at, but it would definitely look unnatural.

Very often we are able to tell the level of development of a culture by looking at their leftovers in the ground: worked stones, wall paintings, buried ashes, metal artifacts, pottery fragments, coins, plastic, rubber tires tell us more on the level of development of a civilization more than the bare bones of the deceased.

Basically the "garbage" of a civilization tell us its level.

Therefore if we were able to find something more than fossilized poo, eggs, bones and footprint, we would also be able to infere that the dinosaurs had some kind of intelligence.

I don't think we can be certain we'd find technological/natural artifacts of their civilization, it's possible they didn't want any future species to find their technology, and destroyed it all when they knew they were facing annihilation - some sort of attempt at ensuring that future species wouldn't make the same mistake they did (or at least lessen the risk of it).

Alternatively, they could have left Earth, and only left their dead behind, who were ritually buried in tar pits. Again, they'd possibly want to hide anything that might hint at their technological prowess, for ethical reasons or whatever.

As to what may remain if this wasn't the case, I'll leave that for others to deal with.