Are We Sure There Wasn’t a Coal-Burning Species 55 Million Years Ago?

Are we sure there wasn’t a coal-burning species 55 million years ago?

If you’ve ever wished that a new study came packaged with some science fiction exploring the implications, this is your lucky day. Of course, not every research paper lends itself to a short story, but a manuscript by NASA’s Gavin Schmidt and the University of Rochester’s Adam Frank asks a fun question: are we sure that humans built the first industrial civilization in Earth’s history?