New archaeological findings indicate that people have been around a looong time. About 3.3 million years it looks like. That is an accounting using exact evidence and verification techniques. Go back in the history of archaeology and you will find it was once accepted that people existed for thousands, then hundreds of thousands of years, and later a cool million. Each new major find pushes further back in time. What if the existence of people spans a much longer time frame?
That long existence of people holds several meanings. The one that stands out the most to me is that the informal civilization of people is more resilient than we know. While populations are conjectured by some to have greatly diminished the last Ice Age, they did recover. Extinction is a reality, especially in light of things like climate change and nuclear armament. Still, in the broader view, even the worse outcomes may not be the end.
Another what if scenario concerns the instincts of people. Given the very long history of people, can anyone really say that instinct works only one way? Different ancestors encountered catastrophe in different ways. Modern descendants made up of a diverse population then would show mixed reactions to things like doomsday scenarios or optimistic projections of the future. Enough time has passed in the history of people to create responses beyond left and right. A reason consensus works so well.
As the world’s lands continue to receive the attention of archaeologists, more is sure to come. New revelations will emerge. The value of archaeology in surfacing insights into the nature of life expands. Improvements in knowledge that could service the perceived problems of the future.