LEMURIA

The concept of Lemuria was born in the 1860s when a group of British geologists noted the striking similarity between fossils and sedimentary strata found in India and South Africa.

Geologists 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.

Ernest Heinrich Haekel, a strong advocate of the evolutionary theory of Darwin used the hypothetical land bridge 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.

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).

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 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. 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.

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