OK: Sci-fi short story, remembered from an anthology, H. Beam Piper-esque, I'm 64 so could be old.

A ship of human scientists with a small security contingent land on an earth-like planet. Ancient ruins with architecture possibly indicates near-human stature; residual radiation, rocket strikes? Advised by Security to avoid current animal-like residents, who do not seem to be civilized -- can't be caught for study, tremendously long throwing arms with deadly accuracy and thus avoided, no evidence of speech, language, any communication other than menace. Ape-like. Not seriously considered the aboriginals.

Single archaeologist wanders from group, turns a corner and is confronted by one of the residents who then speaks to him in his own terran language. Says to the effect of ...we had hoped you would return to some of your old places.... The scientist manages to keep his cool but is confused and asks for clarification. The aboriginal then looks around at the ruins, returns his gaze and says to the effect of ...these ruins... they are not ours... they are yours.

Anyone recognize this? Title, author, anything?

  • Nice description, it does ring a bell, going hunting. Any idea when you read this?
    – Sindi
    Oct 3, 2014 at 0:11
  • This made me think of the Little Fuzzy books, or Fuzzy Sapiens by H. Beam Piper. Though no tie to human ruins, the people do believe the small monkey like creatures are not intelligent at first, and then decide that they are, and thier planet should not be harvested of its resources. Great reads, the lot of them.
    – Firebat
    Oct 3, 2014 at 0:27

1 Answer 1


This is "Protected Species" by H B Fyfe.

“Yes. For a long time, we thought you were all gone. We are pleased to see you returning to some of your old planets.”

Otis stared blankly. Some instinct must have enabled the Myrb to interpret his bewildered expression. He apologized briefly.

“I possibly forgot to explain the ruins.” Again, Jal-Ganyr’s eyes swiveled slowly about.

“They are not ours,” he said mildly. “They are yours.”

  • THANK YOU!!! Driving my crazy. I'll go looking for it, now. This really appealed to my mystery side, vs. the economics, or spirituality, or ethical side. H. Beam Piper <-> H.B. Fyfe, curious how my mind works. Again, Thanks! Oct 3, 2014 at 0:21
  • @StuartMorrison - There's a list of titles with it in; isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?56082
    – Valorum
    Oct 3, 2014 at 0:22

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