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No. 30: Nov-Dec 1983

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The Arctic Womb

"Magnetostratigraphic correlation of Eureka Sound Formation in the Canadian High Arctic reveals profound difference between the time of appearance of fossil land plants and vertebrates in the Arctic and in mid-northern latitudes. Latest Cretaceous plant fossils in the Arctic predate mid-latitude occurrences by as much as 18 million years, while typical Eocene vertebrate fossils appear some 2 to 4 million years early."

(Hickey, Leo J., et al; "Arctic Terrestrial Biota: Paleomagnetic Evidence of Age Disparity with Mid-Northern Latitudes During the Late Cretaceous and Early Tertiary," Science, 221:1153, 1983.)

Comment. The anomaly here is in the vision of the high Arctic lands basking in the warm sun busily evolving new life forms well in advance of their appearance in lands closer to the Equator. What happened to the earth's axial tilt. These fecund polar territories should have been engulfed in darkness almost half of the year -- hardly an environment for precocious plant evolution. Further, trees found buried in the Arc-tic muck could never have grown where found due to the long polar darkness.

From Science Frontiers #30, NOV-DEC 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss