Thursday, June 02, 2022

Lost Continents

Recently I came across a reference to a "paleomicrocontinent" whose remains underlie parts of central Europe, called Greater Adria. The existence of a lost continent immediately reminded me of the sunken land of Atlantis. Could Greater Adria be the basis for that myth (first mentioned in Plato's dialogues TIMAEUS and CRITIAS)? Alas for this exciting notion, Greater Adria existed from 240 to 140 million years ago, long before our species evolved:

Greater Adria

I was surprised to learn of two other prehistoric lost continents, Mauritia (about 60 million years ago), near present-day Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, and Zealandia (submerged about 23 million years ago) under the Pacific Ocean except for its above-sea-level remnants in the form of New Zealand and New Caledonia.

Unfortunately, none of those land masses survived long enough to support super-advanced ancient civilizations. Unless, of course, we want to entertain the premise, as in some of Lovecraft's stories, that highly evolved nonhuman aliens arrived on Earth from interstellar space to establish civilizations that became extinct so long ago almost all their material traces have vanishd. As for Atlantis, according to mainstream science a huge continent in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean never existed. Its story was probably a fable created by Plato for teaching purposes. The most widely accepted source of the historical inspiration for Atlantis is the seventeenth- or sixteenth-century BC catastrophic volcanic eruption whose resulting tsunami destroyed the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete.

Belief in the other famous alleged lost continent, Lemuria, had a more scientific origin. On the basis of the distribution of lemur fossils, zoologist Philip Sclater in 1864 proposed a former land bridge that had sunk beneath the Indian Ocean, which he named Lemuria. Later, it was suggested that Lemuria might have been the ancestral home of the human species. The Lemuria hypothesis was eventually disproved by the acceptance of continental drift as the correct explanation for the fossil record and other related phenomena. However, Helena Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy, picked up and popularized the idea that humanity originated in Lemuria. British occult writer James Churchward, calling it Mu, relocated the mythical sunken continent to the Pacific Ocean. Its inhabitants were imagined to possess highly advanced mystical knowledge and technological achievements of which civilizations such as ancient Egypt preserved mere remnants.

Lost civilizations on now-submerged continents can make fascinating premises for fiction, such as Lynsay Sands's long-running romance-humor-suspense series about a quasi-vampiric clan of immortals whose condition arose from biological research by Atlantean scientists. In factual history and prehistory, though, it seems strange that some people want to believe historical civilizations we know about can't have produced complex inventions and structures such as the Egyptian pyramids. They must have had help from highly advanced science originating on lost continents or from extraterrestrials who landed on Earth and shared their super-science. Or maybe from lost-continent civilizations that received their science from extraterrestrials. In fact, human beings thousands of years ago possessed the same level of intelligence we do and wouldn't have needed mystical aid to create the artifacts they left behind.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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