Re: Lemuria - Here We Go Again

This article about Lemuria was posted to alt.archaeology on May 8, 1996. I have edited the original post for spelling, typos, other errors, and conversion to HTML format.

Re: Lemuria - Here We Go Again

From - Fri May 10 00:04:02 1996
From: Heinrich 
Newsgroups: alt.archaeology
Subject: Re: Lemuria - Here We Go Again
Date: Wed, 08 May 1996 21:37:18 -0600
Organization: Myself only (Antonio Guiseppie) wrote
>                                        By Ed Rampell
>	Maui Loa, the curator of the Hawaiian Ethnic Art 
>Museum located on Oahu's fabled Sunset Beach, invites 
>archeologist's, scholars and the intellectually curious to 
>examine a remarkable collection of lava rock sculptures 
>recently uncovered in the Hawaiian Islands.  .....material 
>omitted... The museum's curator, a native Hawaiian,  
>maintains that, "the rock carvings correlate to Polynesian 
> myths of a golden race of people, somehow surviving 
>the cataclysmic disappearance into the sea of the lost 
>continent of Lemuria,  the Pacific's Atlantis".

.......material omitted.......

>rock carvings, like stone tablets, represent the prehistoric 
>record of ancient people.  In the case of the Polynesian 
>survivors from a lost Lemurian continent, these stone 
>figures might very well be an older civilization's advanced 
>learning tools.

= Its Back!   Or Lemuria Returns to Haunt Its Creators ==

(as abstracted from "Lost Continents" by Sprague de Camp) 

The concept of Lemuria, as a scientific Frankenstein, has  
resurfaced again to haunt the European scientists who first 
created it.  Unknown to many people, the idea of Lemuria 
was not created in prehistoric times, but rather by European 
and American scientists in the late 1800s as a way of 
explaining the distribution of rocks, fossils, and animals in 
the days when continents were considered immovable and 
immutable features of the Earth prior to the development 
of modern theories of continental drift and sea floor 
spreading (de Camp 1954). 

The Birth of Lemuria

The concept of Lemuria was born in the 1860s and 1870s, 
when a group of British geologists noted the striking 
similarity between fossils and sedimentary strata found in 
India and South Africa.  Geologists, e.g. Stow and Blanford 
in India and Griesbach in Africa, noted that strata of Permian 
age in India, South Africa, Australia, and South America 
(245 to 286 million years ago) were almost identical in the 
types of sedimentary rocks that comprised them.  In addition, 
these strata on these continents contained identical fossils of 
land plants, e.g. cordaites and "Glossopteris" and land 
animals, e.g. Therapsids.  Because these land plants and 
animals could not have crossed the open sea and continents 
were thought to be immobile, geologists explained the 
presence of identical fossil plants  and animals on India, 
Africa, South America, and Australia by postulating the 
existence of land bridges and even whole continents that 
had long since sunk beneath the oceans.  In one case, they 
postulated the existence a large land bridge that once 
connected India and South Africa.  In the "Erdegeschichte" 
(1887) of Neumayr, this hypothetical land bridge was 
called "Indo-Madagascan Peninsula" (de Camp 1954).

Ernest Heinrich Haekel, a strong advocate of the 
evolutionary theory of Darwin, like Thomas Huxley, 
used the hypothetical land bridge of "Indo-Madagascan 
Peninsula" in his theorizing.  Haekel used it to 
explain the distribution of lemurs in Africa, India,  
Madagascar, and Malaya Peninsula.  He proposed that 
this hypothetical land-bridge had stayed above water long 
enough for it have served as the means by which lemurs 
spread into these areas.  The English biologist, Philip L. 
Scalter named this land bridge "Lemuria" because of its 
hypothesized association with lemurs.  Thus, Lemuria 
was neither named nor conceived of by prehistoric people, 
but by geologists and biologists in the 1800s (de Camp 
1954).  When plate tectonics and other more prosaic 
theories better explained the distribution of strata, fossils, 
and lemurs, it became clear that Lemuria and other such 
continents and land bridges never really existed, e.g. 
Wicander and Monroe (1989).

The Reincarnation of Lemuria

Lemuria was reincarnated as a lost continent by Madame 
Blavatsky, the greatest of the modern occultists.  Madame
Blavatsky incorporated this concept of Lemuria, in a confused
form, together with Atlantis and bizarre mixture of scientific, 
occult, and Hindu religious material, including the "Rig-Veda"
in her book, "The Secret Doctrine."  In this book, Lemuria 
became a lost continent, although still in the Indian Ocean, 
populated by ape-like hermaphroditic egg-laying creatures.  
Later writers of occult, lost-continent tales, e.g. Annie Besant,
W. Scott-Elliot added their own detail and embellishment to 
the story of Lemuria, including dinosaurs and 12 to 15-foot
bronze humanoids.  The final event in the reincarnation of
Lemuria occurred when writers of occult books moved the
location of Lemuria from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific
Ocean (de Camp 1954).  Since then, mystics and psychics 
have written innumerable books about Lemuria and either 
tuned into the spiritual essence and vibrations or channeled 
for the spirits of long departed Lemurians who never existed 
to begin with.

When the theory of continental drift was developed, people 
realized that it and other more prosaic theories explained
the distribution of animals, fossils, and plants better then 
lost continents.  As a result, Lemuria was allowed to fade 
away into obscurity, while eclipsed by more realistic 
theories long before there were GEOSAT and SEASAT 
satellite data to demonstrate the fictional nature of Lemuria.

For the original story read:
de Camp, S. L., 1954, Lost Continents: The Atlantis Theme in
History, Science, and Literature. Gnome Press, Inc., New York.

Other references
Wicander, R., and Monroe, J. S., 1989, Historical Geology: 
Evolution of the Earth and Life Through Time. West
Publishing Company, New York.

.....signature of original post omitted....
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