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Could a bizarre, inhuman race have evolved on Earth as long ago as 600 million BC? If so, what might have been its fate? Could it have become Earth's first lost civilization?

By around 600 million BC the strange and exotic lifeforms of Ediacarans had evolved in Earth's oceans. Neither plant nor animal, these diverse entities appeared to be evolving nervous systems and brains by 550 million BC-- the same time the earliest worm-like vertebrate ancestors of humanity first appeared. Five million years later all traces of the comparatively advanced Ediacarans suddenly vanished from Earth's oceans. What might have happened to these strange entities, and why?

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BACK to the timeline: Perspectives on 3,000,000,000 BC- 60,000,000 BC

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" entertainment value]

The growing numbers of back-boned animals which ravenously consumed everything in their path were wreaking havoc on Earth's already established eco-systems. The Ediacaran population was being especially devastated. Climate change too was heavily weighing on the Ediacarans during this several million year period. But those Ediacarans which survived the appetites of the new eating machines enjoyed an acceleration in their development of intelligence and cooperation among their numbers. Too, their highly adaptive reproduction capacities and extremely diverse body plans could have enabled them to survive these twin onslaughts to form an impressive (if inhuman) civilization, half a billion years before humanity would appear and develop spoken language.

Earth's First Lost Civilization Table of Contents

"...More history is waiting to be discovered under the sea than in all the world's museums combined..."

-- undersea explorer Robert Ballard, circa 2000

-- Explorers-in-Residence See Gloom and Gleam in the Future By David Braun, National Geographic News; http://www.ngnews.com/, 4-11-2000

-- ALIEN LIFEFORMS MAY BE INSIDE EARTH

By Steve Farrar, The Sunday Times 22 November, 1998

The premise: A wholly inhuman, utterly alien form of life arises within Earth's oceans, during a time of wild evolutionary experimentation and exploding diversity, roughly half a billion years before the dawn of humanity. These exotic entities are pushed into sentience by the mounting pressures of climate change and predatory threats the likes of which the Earth had not seen before now. The young civilization eventually finds the changing environment untenable, and sets out to insulate itself from the building threats to its survival. Not all agree upon the best route to redemption however, and the civilization splinters into several major factions, each seeking its own unique path to the future. The Earth is literally rocked and forever changed by the consequences. Half a billion years later humanity-at-large has no inkling this strange civilization ever existed-- and might still exist today.

Approximately 750,000,000 BC-700,000,000 BC: The entire Earth may be a deep frozen wasteland for ten million years

During most of this period no clouds or ocean are visible on Earth from space. Only snow, ice, and rocks. Most life today is just algae and microbes. Most of it dies now, with many of the survivors likely huddling around rare hot springs and volcanic vents. Others may have survived through chemosynthesis-- processes which draw energy from chemical reactions rather than sunlight. But the Earth begins to undergo wild swings in climate after this, becoming much hotter for a while, then freezing again. These extremes may spur life to evolve to more complex forms in order to survive-- thereby eventually setting the stage for animals to arise.

The single great land continent of this time is situated in the region of Earth that'll one day be known as the tropics.

This great continent (Rhodinia) began coming apart around 760 million BC to form an embryonic Pacific Ocean basin. These changes enabled a boom in new life forms in the region, which drew carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and deposited it on the new sea bottoms as a byproduct of their biological processes. All this carbon pulled from the atmosphere weakened the Earth's ability to retain heat, leading to the oceans beginning to freeze over. One contributor to all this was the fact that the Sun was roughly seven percent weaker in those days.

However, over the course of millions of years Earth's volcanos came to the rescue, replenishing the greenhouse gases Earth needed to insulate it from the cold of space-- thereby starting the cycle all over again-- with a vengeance. Suddenly, within only a matter of centuries the Earth became hotter than it had been since its initial formation, melting glaciers at incredible speeds. The climate change was traumatic, with floods of acid rain and super hurricanes dwarfing anything human beings will have documented by the dawn of the 21st century AD, hundreds of millions of years in the future from now. After these initial changes the Earth fluctuates wildly between the two extremes of heat and cold at least four other times between 760 million BC and 550 million BC, each time culling out huge swathes of life forms and afterwards encouraging the remnants to expand to fill all the empty niches of the biosphere once more.

-- Popsicle Planet By Richard Monastersky, Science News Online, August 22, 1998, ScienceService ["http://www.sciserv.org"], and Snowball earth by Gabrielle Walker, New Scientist ["http://www.newscientist.com"], 6 November 1999

The ocean is frozen solid for more than a half mile in depth.

-- Oxygen may be cause of first snowball earth, 27 OCTOBER 1999, Penn State, Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer, aem1@psu.edu, 814-865-9481

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 650,000,000 BC- 500,000,000 BC: The Cambrian explosion of differentiated lifeforms is occuring

A minimum of one dozen of the animal kingdom's main categories (as will be recognized by early 21st century humanity), first emerge during this period.

-- Moon Dirt Reveals Earth Evolution By Becky Oskin, Discovery.com News, March 10, 2000, http://www.discovery.com

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 600,000,000 BC: The entire Earth may be a deep frozen wasteland for millions of years; North America and Africa begin to split apart, creating a proto-Atlantic Ocean; The strange lifeforms of Ediacarans appear on Earth

-- Oxygen may be cause of first snowball earth, , 27 OCTOBER 1999, Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer aem1@psu.edu 814-865-9481 Penn State

Possibly the last of as many as FIVE 'snowball Earth' cycles may have ended around 575,000,000 BC. These harsh repetitive cycles of hot and cold may have encouraged the evolution of multicellular organisms to appear after the final round. Algae and bacteria were the only life on Earth up until now. It seems most of the Earth's dry land masses are also clustered near to the equator during these cycles.

-- Snowball earth by Gabrielle Walker, New Scientist ["http://www.newscientist.com"], 6 November 1999, http://www.newscientist.com

North America and Africa form a single land mass before this time. In the late Precambrian (perhaps around 600,000,000 BC) the North America and Africa begin to split apart again, creating the proto-Atlantic Ocean.

-- Lecture 14 - The Appalachian Mountains ["http://wwwcatsic.ucsc.edu/~eart3/Lectures/lecture14.html"], last reviewed by respective author(s) on 2/18/00, found on or about 7-8-2000

-- Geological Timescale, page 15, The Earth, The World, The Running Press Cyclopedia, 2nd Edition, 1993, 1995

The complex lifeforms Ediacarans first appear around 600 million BC. At least some Ediacarans may be neither plant or animal, but rather some sort of lichen (a combination of algae and fungi); some may be prototype animals; and still others may simply be bizarre natural experiments (one 20th century scientist will call them vendobionts, declaring that they inflated their size by drawing in water).

The Ediacarans colonize the floors of the world's oceans. Remarkably, there seems to be no overt predation among them as would be seen in animals which appeared later. The Ediacarans do not seem to be equipped with weapons for such contests. Instead, they use photosynthesis like 20th century plants, or biochemically absorb nutrition from the surrounding water or symbiotic bacteria which the Ediacarans themselves host.

Some Ediacarans attach or root themselves to terrain features, while others float about like 20th century jellyfish. A minority may develop primitive spines or fins with which to move about.

-- New Scientist Planet Science: Cast out of Eden ["http://www.newscientist.com/ns/980516/features.html"] by Bennett Daviss, From New Scientist, 16 May 1998

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 600,000,000 BC- 500,000,000 BC: The Earth and Moon may enjoy the lowest frequency of asteroid and comet impacts of their spans now

-- Meteoric wallop may have diversified life By R. Cowen: Science News Online, Mar. 11, 2000; Vol. 157, No. 11, http://www.sciserv.org

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 590,000,000 BC +: South Australia is struck by a 4 km wide asteroid; A large proportion of the Earth's continents have become roughly centered about the south pole by this time

-- One theory solves two ancient climate paradoxes, EurekAlert! ["http://www.eurekalert.org/"] 14 DECEMBER 1999, Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer aem1@psu.edu 814-865-9481 Penn State

Around 590 million BC a 4 km+ diameter rocky meteor impacts South Australia, creating a 40 km diameter crater and generating an earthquake leading to 100 m tall tidal waves in a shallow sea some 300 km distant. Lake Acraman will be the name of the site in the 20th century.

-- Secret strike By Tim Thwaites, From New Scientist ["http://www.newscientist.com"], 7 August 1999

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 570,000,000 BC: The Cambrian explosion in biological diversity is taking place...

...lasting perhaps only one to ten million years (incredibly fast by many later measures). Could it be the radiation from natural nuclear reactors is aiding this process?

-- THE SHORTER, THE STRANGER From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #90, NOV-DEC 1993 by William R. Corliss, citing Samuel A. Bowring, et al; "Calibrating Rates of Early Cambrian Evolution," Science, 261:1293, 1993. Richard A. Kerr; "Evolution's Big Bang Gets Even More Explosive," Science, 261:1274, 1993. R. Monastersky; "Siberian Rocks Clock Biological Big Bang," Science News, 144:142, 1993. Carol Kaesuk Yoon; "Biology's 'Big Bang' Took a Mere Blink of the Eye," New York Times, September 7, 1993

Or might marginal effects of an otherwise deadly gamma ray burster upon lifeforms somewhat but not fully protected from the radiation have spawned this fountain of rapid evolution?

-- Space Today and the Washington Post, on or about 12-18-96; "Recently Discovered Cosmic Blast May Be Biggest Since Big Bang" by MALCOLM W. BROWNE, 5-7-98, The New York Times;"Cataclysmic Explosions May Have Held Up Alien Visitors", Author: Robert Matthews, New Scientist magazine issue 23rd Jan 99

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 555,000,000 BC: The first vertebrates (animals with backbones) may be emerging now

-- Early Vertebrates Discovered By Jeff Donn The Associated Press Nov. 3, 1999, ABC News Internet Ventures, http://www.abcnews.go.com/

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 550,000,000 BC: Ediacarans may be developing sensory organs-- or even crude brains

Around 550 million BC the Ediacarans begin developing unusual new appendages. The nature of these limbs or knobs will be hotly debated by 20th century scientists. But some will see these new elements as primordial sensory organs. The configuration and location of the appendages suggest primitive brain development, if an analogy with animal development can be applied to these strange creatures.

-- New Scientist Planet Science: Cast out of Eden ["http://www.newscientist.com/ns/980516/features.html"] by Bennett Daviss, From New Scientist, 16 May 1998

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 550,000,000 BC- 545,000,000 BC: The Ediacarans, buffeted by numerous new evolutionary challenges, develop rapidly into more complex creatures

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" entertainment value]

The ever smarter Ediacarans are eventually transforming themselves into something like bizzare mutated undersea versions of bee hives or ant colonies, only with the Ediacaran colonies consisting of much more diverse body plans and physical capabilities than the insects with which later humanity will be familiar.

There comes to be a hierarchy of intelligence among the Ediacarans, with only one particular strain truly possessing something near to human level consciousness and reason. A handful of others become capable of performing fairly complex tasks assigned them by the smartest, while most of the rest of the Ediacaran types never rise above the capacity to do simple tasks.

Ediacarans are becoming 'composite beings'. That is, a small group of Ediacarans, perhaps numbering as little as three or four, or as many as dozens, are typically required to form the rough equivalent of a human being from 100,000 BC or so. One analogy would be various human body parts like the head, hands, and other organs starting out as separate beasts, but over time tending to work together as symbiotic organizations, to eventually form something like a single being, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The non-intelligent entities of the Ediacarans survived easily enough on their own in prior ages, before all the changes on Earth. After that, survival demanded experimentation and cooperation. The smartest Ediacaran components led the way, over millions of years guiding and persuading other elements to join in the new confederation of organisms.

This process was helped along tremendously by the multiple evolutionary pressures of the time, as well as the usually non-antagonistic relationships individual Ediacaran components had always enjoyed with regards to one another in the past. The newly emerging composite Ediacarans eventually enjoyed a wide range of sexual options too, including asexual, heterosexual, and others-- virtually all of which could lead to procreation-- and many of the organizations could switch between these methods pretty much at will. This largely did away with the disadvantages normally associated with the speed of plant evolution, while optimally exploiting the potential rate of change inherent in animal evolution too.

Even the smartest individual components among the Ediacarans would have been considered somewhat slow-witted by the average 20th century human being. But joining together into composite organisms helped this state of affairs immensely.

Eventually this tendency to organize into composite organisms led to still higher levels of complexity for the race, as they began to join into wider networks of cooperative composites and their relations. These networks over time developed highly sophistocated methods of internal communications between individual Ediacaran composites. Soon the average Ediacaran network on Earth was the equivalent of a good sized human tribe of 25-35 people, circa 25,000 BC, in terms of their intelligence and capabilities. The next advance came from edge effects stemming from a meeting of the outer perimeters of two different Ediacaran networks. The Ediacarans' mostly peaceful, non-competitive ways among themselves helped enormously in allowing individual networks here and there to begin communicating with one another. Thus were born the first Ediacaran super-networks-- or the Ediacaran equivalent to human villages and towns.

Inspiration from the short story 'The Green Marauder', page 221, of the book Limits by Larry Niven, 1985, Del Rey, Ballantine Books

One element helping the Ediacarans immensely in their race against time is the Jared Diamond effect, which works much better for undersea environments of similar depth than it will later on for dry land civilizations. Especially in the 10,000 years or so following the Ediacarans' development of analogues to human urban centers...

One relevant factor to sea-based intelligence development might be termed "the Jared Diamond effect". Diamond pointed out how human civilization's own development was shaped in large part by the respective size and latitudinal orientation of a given population's native continent, and the diversity and suitability to domestication of its plant and animal species. In brief, greater local diversity of species gave human beings more resources to work with, while climatic homogeniety allowed those early resources (domesticated plants and animals) to be readily applicable over a wide area and large population, once the initial breakthrough in domestication was made. A critical mass in land area and population allowed more intense competition for resources between varying organizational efforts, than occured elsewhere. In a nutshell, this largely geographic difference between continents is what allowed eurasians to dominate the rest of the world in human development up through the 20th century.

It would seem that "the Jared Diamond effect" would work in overdrive in regard to sea-based life-- at least once such a civilization got started in the first place. Because any seas similar to Earth's would offer vastly larger and more homogeneous environments for the spread of domesticated animal and plant life throughout a civilization, as well as likely offer a critical mass of sentient population rather quickly and easily too. But on the flip side, it would appear such an environment might not offer the same magnitude of differences in species diversity or heterogeneous environments found on the dry land of Earth-- except perhaps under extraordinary circumstances such as the highly unusual explosion in biological diversity which occured early on in Earth's own history...

-- "Why Did Human History Unfold Differently On Different Continents For The Last 13,000 Years? A Talk By Jared Diamond", The Third Culture, found on or about 1-2-99 on the web

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 545,000,000 BC: The Ediacarans vanish from the face of the Earth

Around 545 million BC complex lifeforms one day to be known as Ediacarans seem to disappear from the Earth. It's not entirely clear if they were driven to extinction by competition from other life (newly emerging forms one day to be called animals), or were perhaps an early stage in the evolution of those same animals. If the Ediacarans are related to 20th century humanity (that is, they are prototype animals), as of 1998 AD we will not yet have found the fossils required to prove the link.

At least some Ediacarans may have been neither plant or animal, but rather some sort of lichen (a combination of algae and fungi); some may have been prototype animals; and still others may simply have been bizarre natural experiments which proved to be dead ends in evolutionary terms (one scientist called Ediacarans vendobionts, declaring that they inflated their size by drawing in water).

The Ediacarans colonized the floors of the world's oceans. Some Ediacarans would attach or root themselves to terrain features, while others floated about like jellyfish. A minority may have developed primitive spines or fins with which to move about.

Some scientists of 2000 AD will see in the Ediacarans the possibility of a much gentler and more peaceful Earth, had they continued upon the evolutionary course they seemed to be following before their disappearance.

Why are the Ediacarans perceived as gentler and more peace-loving than the better known animal kingdom? Because there seems to be no overt predators among the Ediacarans.The Ediacarans do not seem to be equipped with weapons for such contests. Instead, they use photosynthesis like 20th century plants, or biochemically absorb nutrition from the surrounding water or symbiotic bacteria which the Ediacarans themselves host.

To top it all off, a few million years before their disappearance, some Ediacarans seem to be developing sensory organs which might lead to rudimentary brains.

Around 550 million BC the Ediacarans began developing unusual new appendages. The nature of these limbs or knobs would be hotly debated by 20th century scientists. But some would see these new elements as primordial sensory organs. The configuration and location of the appendages suggest primitive brain development, if an analogy with animal development can be applied.

Then, around 545 million BC, the Ediacarans suddenly disappeared. At least according to the fossil record to be available to humanity in 1998 AD.

Did a long lasting global geological catastrophe reduce the light entering the oceans, thereby dooming the Ediacarans? Or did our own animal ancestors appear and simply eat them out of existence? Or could it be the Ediacarans themselves evolved into our earliest animal ancestors? As of 1998 AD no one will have sufficient evidence to prove any of these scenarios.

-- New Scientist Planet Science: Cast out of Eden ["http://www.newscientist.com/ns/980516/features.html"] by Bennett Daviss, From New Scientist, 16 May 1998

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" entertainment value]

Though in some ways the Ediacaran civilization was quite homogeneous, it others it could diverge quite dramatically. One such divergence occured in the Great Debate about their future fate. Some thought they should do nothing and let destiny do with them what it would. Others felt they should genetically engineer themselves into some of the radical new and robust animal species with backbones which comprised one of the major new threats to their own existence. A merger of sorts. Still others backed a more typically non-confrontive Ediacaran approach: that of adapting to still deeper regions of the Earth itself; to colonize areas much less in dispute and competition than the seas, as well as better protected from climate changes and various cosmic and geological catastrophes.

This last option would be very disruptive to a huge percentage of Ediacaran elementals; for they lived via photosynthesis, and major changes would be required to rework their systems.

Nevertheless, the mainstream of the Ediacaran civilization chose the subterranean plan. They would genetically engineer themselves to a point where they could move below even the sea floor itself, to inhabit the water-filled regions of the Earth's crust-- the crevicular continuum. Eventually they will manage even to port representatives to hydrocarbon regions and others.

Note the Ediacarans' curious lack of consideration of the many much more aggressive stances they could have pursued in regards to the new biological organisms and climate changes afflicting them so. With their ongoing advances in technology they could have reshaped the Earth's seas to fit them rather than reshaping themselves to move to regions other lifeforms didn't want. But this was the nature of the Ediacarans. They loathed confrontations of any sort, and also did not see it as their place to change the ways of Mother Earth and the other lifeforms inhabiting her. Instead, they'd rather change themselves, and live somewhere that other species would not contest with such gusto as was now occuring in the seas.

By and large under this plan Ediacarans are forced to give up their composite mobility, becoming embedded at some point semi-permanently somewhere in the Earth's crust, thereafter heavily dependent upon the movement of smaller organisms or entities by which to communicate with one another, feed, and detect or affect changes in their environment. Part of this fixation was due to the necessity to increase the total effective volume of a given composite being in order to better cope with the conditions of their new home region.

The above passage may be misleading; for while the average composite's total volume increased in this adaptation, individual component sizes were typically greatly reduced, while their numbers were increased. In other words, each composite Ediacaran became divided up into lots more individual components than before, and practically all these components were considerably smaller than their predecessors, too.

Part of the reason for the smaller component sizes was to preserve some mobility options in the crevicular continuum. Another was the necessity to deal with substantial heat and pressure, and sometimes extremely small volumes and passages. It was also a tradeoff. For the same size constraints which forced such adaptations upon the Ediacarans also helped prevent some of the predatory animal life of the oceans from following the Ediacarans into the crust.

-- ALIEN LIFEFORMS MAY BE INSIDE EARTH By Steve Farrar, The Sunday Times, 22 November, 1998

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 545,000,000 BC through the present: The subterranean global Ediacaran network serves Earth

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" entertainment value]

The subterranean Ediacarans' plan has unforeseen consequences for both them and the planet, as they slowly find themselves becoming one with the whole world, essentially providing Earth with a de facto nervous system and brain throughout the crust and even reaching into the upper mantle-- even if that brain is based upon a pseudo-biological form of distributed processing, and operates at glacial speeds at best (geological speeds are more the norm in most cases).

Inspiration from the the book Earth by David Brin, 1990, Bantam Books

Over time the subterranean Ediacarans learn how they might affect not only the inner workings of the planet, but the seas, land, and air as well, to help moderate the extremes with which the Earth has seemed afflicted since the beginning. Such moderation would surely help make the lifeforms at or near Earth's surface and within her seas more comfortable, and reduce the frenzy for survival there which drove the Ediacarans themselves underground millions of years before. Thus, the Ediacarans flex their collective might, and over the course of tens of millions of years extremes in the Earth's climate are dampened, its axis tilt moderated, and new and fertile regions conducive for the spread of life created. Certain geophysical cycles already present in the Earth are exploited, and tuned for finer effect; in some cases the cycles are accelerated, in others they are slowed; sometimes they are synchronized, in others the opposite. Mistakes are made, but rectified. Over the eons the Ediacarans become ever better at managing the Earth and its biosphere.

But of course even the Ediacarans are limited in what they can do to compensate for large cosmic impacts from space. And they do not enjoy total control over the Earth's geophysical processes either; occasionally the planet will unleash super-volcanic eruptions with global effects comparable to large cosmic impacts. The Ediacarans learn the hard way that they can only delay and (sometimes) redirect such blasts, not stop them altogether. But postponing or otherwise manipulating such events often only worsens the ultimate outcome, so far as the biosphere is concerned. So after a while the subterranean Ediacarans usually attempt no more such manipulations of those types of events-- except when it seems Earth badly requires a bit of manuevering or orientation adjustment. In those cases careful manipulation of super volcanic blasts can sometimes help adjust various parameters of Earth's tilt and orbit, even if only minutely. But the tradeoffs involved, and the possible repercussions for the biosphere, make such manipulations problematic, and not to be taken lightly.

Of course, the perspectives of the subterranean Ediacarans and the Pellucidar Ediacarans eventually become two entirely separate things...

The global subterranean Ediacaran consciousness of the early 21st century AD is vastly different from the original civilization struggling to survive a timultuous Earth in 545 million BC. By the 21st century AD the Ediacaran consciousness is just beginning to register the presence of humanity upon the surface of its world. Some twenty million years earlier it had only just begun to feel the presence of the Kerguelen-- but then, suddenly, they were gone. The intelligence wonders how long this new species will last upon the harsh and ever-changing surface...

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 544,000,000 BC: Perhaps the last of three global glaciations extending even to the Earth's equator is realized

The Earth remains tilted 70 degrees from vertical. There is likely a large number of species extinctions now in many regions. However, while the equator is suffering glaciation, the poles are not. This results in at least some sea and land remaining sufficiently warm to allow life to more or less continue on in development.

The slow movement of tectonic plates may also be gathering continental masses around the southern pole, setting the stage for a righting of the axis tilt.

-- One theory solves two ancient climate paradoxes, EurekAlert! ["http://www.eurekalert.org/"] 14 DECEMBER 1999, Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer aem1@psu.edu 814-865-9481 Penn State

Around 544 million BC the Cambrian period began with a ten million year explosion in life diversity and size (previous to this most life consisted of microbes). It may be that the Earth's mantle shifted, imbalancing the planet and causing it to tilt on its axis.

North America began the period near to the South Pole but ended up (540 million BC- 515 million BC) on the equator. Antarctica, South America, Australia, India, and Africa were all one body called Gondwanaland, and traveled all the way across the southern half of Earth during the time (finishing the trip around 535 million BC- 500 million BC).

-- When Earth Tipped, Life Went Wild by R. Monastersky, July 26, 1997, Science News Online, http://www.sciencenews.org

One source places the Cambrian explosion in diversity at 540 million BC.

-- Meteoric wallop may have diversified life By R. Cowen: Science News Online, Mar. 11, 2000; Vol. 157, No. 11, http://www.sciserv.org

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 534,000,000 BC: A sudden mass imbalance within the Earth may set off rapid geologic changes worldwide now (with significant climatic consequences afterwards)

It may be that in the normal subduction process an unusually weak section of the sea floor breaks loose and begins sliding into the mantle. This parcel is perhaps hundreds or thousands of times larger than the typical subduction mass. Its huge size and cumbersome shape likely causes many problems for this part of the planet, such as massive and more frequent earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as perhaps gargantuan undersea volcanic eruptions and lava flows. Luckily the mass of the sea overhead may mute the effects of the eruptions on the atmosphere somewhat.

The normal tectonic processes are vastly accelerated as a result of the imbalances brought on by this event. Within 15 million years all the continents have moved by some 90 degrees from their previous positions.

-- EARTH'S SHIFTING CRUST From Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #113, SEP-OCT 1997 by William R. Corliss, citing Joseph L. Kirschvink, et al; "Evidence for a Large-Scale Reorganization of Early Cambrian Continental Masses by Inertial Interchange True Polar Wander," Science, 277:541, 1997, Kathy Sawyer; "Global Shift May Have Sped Evolution," Washington Post, July 25, 1997, and Kurt P. Wise, "The Archaean Explosion," CEN Technical Journal, 10:315, 1996

The unusual size and configuration of the subducted seafloor may cause far more seawater than normal to be dragged downwards deep into the Earth as well.

It appears two enormous ancient oceans were dragged deep towards the core of the Earth (hundreds of kilometers down) by the subduction of their floors under the continents. They may host quantities of seawater comparable to the surface oceans of 20th century Earth.

One of these bizzare realms may now exist some 900 km underneath Europe. The other looks to be almost 3,000 km below Indonesia.

These regions were revealed by seismic tomography.

-- TWO REALLY DEEP OCEANS from Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #96, NOV-DEC 1994 by William R. Corliss, citing Carl Zimmer; "The Ocean Within," Discover, 15:20, October 1994, and Martin Redfern; "Lost Ocean Found Deep in the Earth," New Scientist, p. 16, September 3, 1994

"It would still look like solid rock to you"

-- Huge 'Ocean' Discovered Inside Earth By Ker Than; 28 February 2007 ["http://www.livescience.com/environment/070228_beijing_anomoly.html"]

Between 750 million BC and 2,000 AD the Earth's surface sea level will drop some 1,968 feet due to loss of water to subterranean regions.

-- "The world's oceans seem to be draining away" by Peter Hadfield, Tokyo, New Scientist ["http://www.newscientist.com"] issue 11th September 99, http://www.newscientist.com, 8 SEPTEMBER 1999, EurekAlert! ["http://www.eurekalert.org/"]

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" entertainment value]

Ediacaran Pellucidar

["Pellucidar" coined by Edgar Rice Burroughs]

The subterranean adaptation plan had enjoyed the bulk of Ediacaran resources. But that did not prevent some dissatisfied Ediacaran factions from pursuing their own designs long after the entire civilization had made the transition to the crevicular continuum. One of these decided to create their own unique and centralized subterranean habitat, unlike the distributed system of the others. Clues as to how do so came partly from discoveries about natural geological events of the past and present.

And thus was a new and strange Pellucidar realm eventually created, unlike any of its natural (or unnatural) predecessors. Its creation literally rocked the planet, due to certain necessities of its design.

The Pellucidar faction took R & D as desired from the others, to formulate their own ideal new elementals and composite forms. They enlarged most elemental types in order to retain previous levels of intelligence and capabilities even under conditions of extreme heat and pressure. They replaced certain carbon-based cellular works with silicon or other such materials.

Virtually all the inorganic technology they wished to take with them deeper into the Earth had to be translated into nanotechnology form, and then incorporated into their very bodies for safe-keeping.

The Pellucidar faction spent millions of years planning and preparing for the creation of their new environment. Once they were ready, they utilized their nanotechnology to the fullest to form and improve a huge region of artificially subducted seafloor and ocean on-the-fly, even as it catastrophically plunged deep into the Earth.

They coated and internally reinforced their new watery environment with exotic materials designed to help it withstand the incredible heat and pressures of the Earth's mantle. The great compressive strength of their enclosed seawater helped much. But thick diamond walls and structural elements of other materials improved the great vessel still more.

After a few more millions of years, the Pellucidar faction had succeeded in creating what was essentially an enormous subterranean colony, comparable in size and sophistocation to many of the best space colonies which might ever be constructed by humanity or intelligent aliens anywhere else in the universe. This vast subterranean ocean was far too harsh for any purely biological entities of much complexity or size to survive in, even for a few seconds. This indeed was part of the design, to prevent unwanted lifeforms such as those in Earth's surface oceans from somehow evolving inside Pellucidar (or surviving hidden in the vast void from its initial creation). It also served to keep out non-native Ediacarans not specifically adapted to the environment-- as the long standing differences between the parties had created a great idealistic rift between them. But the Pellucidar Ediacarans themselves thrived in their new environment. They could even steer their watery world through the mantle in whatever directions they wished-- albeit only at geological speeds.

To use a human analog, the mainstream Ediacarans living in the crevicular continuum of the crust and upper mantle were something like the human beings who will one day populate the surface of Earth's dry land continents and ply the upper hundred feet or so of the oceans between 100,000 BC and 2,000 AD, while the Pellucidar Ediacarans are something like the humans who choose to colonize the deep ocean waters circa the early 21st century AD and later.

Over time the Pellucidar Ediacarans use advances in technology to make their physical forms even better adapted to their high pressure, high temperature realm. Keep in mind that some original Ediacaran forms resembled free floating jelly fish. Within Pellucidar the earliest physical forms of preference became artificial jelly fish-like bodies, only considerable smaller than those which will be known to humanity later on. These tiny jelly masses swam in large congregations to form a single composite Pellucidar Ediacaran. Excess heat would be occasionally discarded via electrical or light discharges directed into nearby convenient conductors (this is a big subject in itself I will not go into here). A considerable portion of these Pellucidar bodies were inorganic, or wholly technology-based rather than biological in origin.

Eventually the Pellucidars learned how to do away with some of their intermediary technologies, and exist largely as encapsulated plasma, which to outside observers would appear to be encased in bubbles of air, floating through the superheated seawater medium of their realm. This impression would be wrong of course, as no air would be involved, but rather vacuum, insulating the plasma from the super hot water. Buffer fields of molecule-size robots would maintain the artificial insulating layer about the plasma beings, offering optical visibility settings to the outside world according to the current preferences of their master/host. The outer buffer layer could draw energy from the surrounding heat with which to work, while the inner layer was powered by the living plasma itself.

The coherent plasma is the actual Ediacaran entity. The protective shells merely a form of high tech clothing. Though some adjustments are required if such a being leaves the pressures and heat of Pellucidar for some more benign environment like the crushing depths of the sea bottom, or outer space, it has little to fear from such places. The main things which keep Pellucidars at home turn out to be immediate communing with its fellows, more than anything else. If a Pellucidar leaves home it can still communicate with the others, even at great distances; it's just that the time lag and bandwidth reduction involved quickly becomes unacceptable. Much as will be the case with human beings and communication over long distances in space, eons later.

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 1,000,000,000 BC- 500,000,000 BC: Northern Mars suffers world-shaking catastrophe

The northern hemisphere of Mars undergoes one or more violent and geologically rapid large-scale changes involving massive, possibly explosive, lava flows over the surface.

The southern hemisphere too has its share of volcanic eruptions and lava flows both before and after this time-- but they are not as violent or rapid or massive in most cases as those of the northern half of Mars. In terms of lava flows over the long term, southern Mars resembles Earth.

These lava flow differences between northern and southern Mars may signify important internal changes to the planet before or during this time. These changes may be related to Mars' crust undergoing a thickening process, or to the ultimate fate of the planet's surface water.

-- Mars global surveyor provides a geologist's survey of Mars, Contact: James Hathaway, hathaway@asu.edu, 480-965-6375, Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts & Sciences EurekAlert! 3 MARCH 2000

It may also be that northern Mars suffers one or more cataclysmic impacts from asteroids or comets in this time frame.

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 500,000,000 BC+: A significant meteor strike occurs in Lake Huron North America; The subterranean and Pellucidar factions of Ediacarans have diverged into largely separate and incompatible races

-- IMPACT CRATER BENEATH LAKE HURON from Science Frontiers Digest of Scientific Anomalies ["http://www.knowledge.co.uk/frontiers/"] #72, NOV-DEC 1990 by William R. Corliss, citing W. Stolzenburg; "Impact Crater May Lie beneath Lake Huron," Science News, 138:133, 1990

[Caution: Extreme speculation ahead; this section mostly created for "What If?" entertainment value]

For many reasons, over time the subterranean Ediacarans and Pellucidar Ediacarans have become quite different civilizations, with largely differing perspectives on themselves and the planet. Keep in mind the subterraneans populate almost the entire crust of the planet, while the Pellucidars generally rarely leave their single ocean-sized region deep in the mantle. The subterraneans retain a much closer relationship with the rest of the evolving life on Earth, while the Pellucidars are forced by their harsher environment to become more inorganic and technology-dependent. This leads to big differences in technology bases between the two over the eons as well, until by 500 million BC both strains of Ediacarans would appear about as alien to one another as they both would to 20th century AD humanity. By now almost insurmountable language and race barriers have developed between the subterranean and Pellucidar Ediacarans, so that there is practically no interaction between them at all anymore.

The remarkable longevity of the two races is primarily due to their artificially slowed metabolisms metered to help them adapt to their respective environments, plus their considerably advanced technologies; though by this time the Pellucidar faction is becoming superior to the subterranean faction in the ways which would seem most important to early 21st century AD humanity: namely, knowledge and technology readily adaptable to military purposes.

Fortunately the Pellucidar faction remains isolated from the rest of the world in its strange artificial ocean realm slowly orbiting the Earth's core, swept along with the mantle currents. Even the subterranean Ediacarans go for tens of thousands of years at a time without any hint that the Pellucidars remain alive in their refuge.

On very rare occasion the subterranean Ediacarans notice the passing of one or several Pellucidars through their realm, to the surface above. Such Pellucidars almost never make a return trip back into the mantle. It is commonly believed that they dissipate in the Earth's outer biosphere.

During 2004 a village in Sicily was bedeviled by anomalous fires possibly caused by something like electrical surges emanating from the core of the Earth to interact with various electrical appliances in homes-- even where man-made currents were shut off. If these are natural events, they must be exceedingly rare.

Since these events occur even where man-made electricity appears to be absent, they might well have happened before in history and pre-history, wherever the proper conditions came together-- including a suitable arrangement of metallic elements in a vicinity. If so, then such events might have spawned some accounts of demons, devils, ghosts, magic, miracles, and witchcraft in the past.

One other item may be necessary for such events to take place: human witnesses. Although it sounds bizarre, as of early 2004 all this offers up some of the best explanations available for the phenomena going on in Sicily.

-- Blazing mystery is straight from the ĎX-Filesí ["http://msnbc.msn.com/id/4669114/"] By Shasta Darlington; April 05, 2004; msnbc.msn.com

-- Electricity Goes Wild. Did the Devil Make It Do It? ["http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/24/international/europe/24devil.html?ex=1088740800?en=10cdd9d0976b88f7&ei=5058&partner=IWON"]; nytimes.com

"There could be life out there, but not as we know it."

-- Mircea Sanduloviciu of the Cuza University in Romania

-- Plasma blobs hint at new form of life ["http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994174"] by David Cohen; 17 September 2003; New Scientist; newscientist.com

"Aliens were responsible for a series of unexplained fires in fridges, TVís and mobile phones in an Italian village, according to an Italian government report.

Canneto di Caronia, in northern Sicily, drew attention three years ago after residents reported everyday household objects bursting into flames."

"The report was ordered by the Italian government and brought together dozens of experts including a NASA scientist. Their two year investigation has cost an estimated £1 million.

According to the report the fires were "caused by a high power electro magnetic emissions which were not man made and reached a power of between 12 and 15 gigawatts."

"We are not saying that little green men from Mars started the fires but that unnatural forces capable of creating a large amount of electromagnetic energy were responsible.

"This is just one possibility we are also looking at another one which involves the testing of top secret weapons by an unknown power which are also capable of producing an enormous amount of energy."

== Aliens caused Sicily fires, say officials ["http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/26/waliens126.xml"] By Nick Pisa in Rome Last Updated: 7:31pm BST 26/10/2007

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


Approximately 500,000,000 BC: Emerging lifeforms of this time include starfish, corals, and clam-like shellfish

-- Geologic Time Scale, page 564, Earth Science, Science and Technology, The Universal Almanac 1996, Andrews and McMeel, 1995

Signposts 59,999,999 BC-51,000 BC Contents


Approximately 490,000,000 BC: The Earth may have slowly reduced its previous tilt of 70 degrees from the vertical to some 20 or 30 degrees now

It's taken many millions of years for the planet to reverse the extreme tilt of its axis possibly incurred by the Moon-generating collision.

-- One theory solves two ancient climate paradoxes, EurekAlert! ["http://www.eurekalert.org/"] 14 DECEMBER 1999, Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer aem1@psu.edu 814-865-9481 Penn State

Earth's First Lost Civilization Contents


To be continued...


BACK to the timeline: Perspectives on 3,000,000,000 BC- 60,000,000 BC


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