I agree. I would expect that a more advanced civilization than ours could have been using different technologies that do not require fossil fuels.
However, before the earlier civilizations became advanced, or on the path to advancement, I am surprised that fossil-fuel energy sources were not discovered and used, as our civilization has done (and is doing). Especially if there have been 4 or 5 iterations, in which case the fossil fuels should have been used up.
I find it very curious. The implication is that the earlier, advanced civilizations did not go through the expected progressive development process; that the advanced energy technology arrived, already developed and not requiring fossil fuels.