Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Atlantis and the Pleistocene Island Syndrome

 
We have touched on the matter of bison once before and briefly although it is one of the animals that seems to bear evidence of a recent transatlantic migration as opposed to one over the more usually cited Bering Sea route. (The beaver is the other primary example among the mammals, and both of them must have made a crossing during the Pleistocene or Ice Age itself.
On that earlier occasion I summarized the situation in these words:
Above, the Wisent or European bison, below the Woodlands bison of North America. Some authorities maintain that the bison were Atlantean animals (James Churchward says this in the Lost Continent of Mu books) and the idea would be that they were woodlands bison as opposed to the bigger (and less hairy) steppe bisons of Eurasia. And in fact the American and European bison look more alike than either one actually looks like the Steppe bisons.

The bison would be the sacred animals of Poseidon (or the original god that came to be called Poseidon in the Critias, I prefer to say Don or Adon=Atum)and kept in a special park in the center of the main city to be ritually hunted and sacrificed by the nobility. So the arrangement is rather like the King of England having an exclusive deer park and the deer would then be off-limits to commoners. This does bespeak of the bison in question being kept in captivity but does not necessarily that the Atlanteans kept cattle otherwise. Hence I thought it best to clarify the matter by posting the Cattle Out of Africa article first.
The land bridges at the time would not have been continuous belts of land but they would be island chains that swimming animals could island-hop across.
 
 

[BISON] Evolution and genetic history

The bovine family (Taurids and Bisonids) diverged from the common ancestral line with Water Buffalo and African Buffalo about 5 to 10 million years ago.[8] Thereafter, the family lineage of bison and taurine cattle does not appear to be a straight forward ‘tree’ structure as is often depicted in much evolution, because there is evidence of interbreeding and crossbreeding between different species and members within this family, even many millions of years after their ancestors separated into different species. This cross breeding was not sufficient to conflate the different species back together, but it has resulted in unexpected relationships between many members of this group, such as Yak being related to American Bison, when such relationships would otherwise not be apparent.
A 2003 study of mitochondrial DNA indicated four distinct maternal lineages in tribe Bovini:
  1. Taurine cattle and zebu,
  2. Wisent,
  3. American bison and yak,[9] and
  4. Banteng, gaur, and gayal.
However, Y chromosome analysis associated wisent and American bison.[10] An earlier study using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting showed a close association of wisent and American bison and probably with yak, but noted that the interbreeding of Bovini species made determining relationships problematic.[11]
The Steppe Bison (Bison priscus) diverged from the lineage that led to cattle (Bos taurus) approximately 2 to 5 million years ago. The Bison genus is clearly in the fossil record by 2 million years ago.[12] The Steppe Bison spread across Eurasia and was the bison that was pictured in the ancient cave drawings of Spain and Southern France
The European Bison or Wisent arose from the Steppe Bison, without fossil evidence of other ancestral species between the Steppe Bison and the European Bison, though the European Bison might have arisen from the lineage that led to American Bison if that lineage backcrossed with the Steppe Bison. Again, the web of relationships is confusing, but there is some evidence that the European Bison is descended from bison that had migrated from Asia to North America, and then back to Europe, where they crossbred with existing Steppe Bison.[12]
At one point, some Steppe Bison cross bred with the ancestors of the modern Yak. After that cross breeding, a population of Steppe Bison (Bison priscus) crossed the Bering Land Bridge to North America. There is evidence of multiple crossings of bison to and from Asia starting before 500,000 years ago and continuing until at least 220,000 years ago. The Steppe Bison spread through the northern parts of North America and Steppe Bison lived in Eurasia until approximately 11,000 years ago[13] and North America until 4,000 to 8,000 years ago.[12]
Bison latifrons (Giant Bison or Longhorn Bison) is thought to have evolved in midcontinent North America from Bison priscus, after the Steppe Bison crossed into North America.[14][15][16] Giant Bison (Bison latifrons) appeared in the fossil record approximately 500,000 years ago.[12] B. latifrons was one of many species of North American megafauna which became extinct during the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene epoch (an event referred to as the Quaternary extinction event). It is thought to have disappeared some 21,000–30,000 years ago, during the late Wisconsin glaciation.[17]
The Bison latifrons (Giant Bison or Longhorn Bison) species was replaced by the smaller Bison antiquus. Bison antiquus appeared in the North American Fossil record approximately 250,000 years ago.[18] Bison antiquus in turn evolved into the Bison occidentalis, then into the yet smaller Bison bison — the modern American bison — some 5,000 to 10,000 years ago.[19][20] Some researchers consider Bison occidentalis to be a sub-species of Bison antiquus[21]


Skulls of European bison (left) and American bison (right)
During the population bottleneck, after the great slaughter of American Bison during the 1800s, the number of bison remaining alive in North America declined to as low as 541. During that period, a handful of ranchers gathered remnants of the existing herds to save the species from extinction. These ranchers bred some of the bison with cattle in an effort to produce "cattleo"[22] (today called "beefalo") Accidental crossings were also known to occur. Generally, male domestic bulls were crossed with buffalo cows, producing offspring of which only the females were fertile. The crossbred animals did not demonstrate any form of hybrid vigor, so the practice was abandoned. The proportion of cattle DNA that has been measured in introgressed individuals and bison herds today is typically quite low, ranging from 0.56 to 1.8%.[22][23] In the United States, many ranchers are now utilizing DNA testing to cull the residual cattle genetics from their bison herds. The U.S. National Bison Association has adopted a code of ethics which prohibits its members from deliberately crossbreeding bison with any other species.
Some cattle breeds are intentionally bred with bison to produce, for instance, Beefalo hybrids. Wisent-American bison hybrids were briefly experimented with in Germany (and found to be fully fertile) and a herd of such animals is maintained in Russia all the time. A herd of cattle-wisent crossbreeds (Zubron) is maintained in Poland. First-generation crosses do not occur naturally, requiring caesarean delivery. First-generation males are infertile.

 
It is well known that some Native Americans relied heavily upon bison and derived most of their needs from them,. This can also be inferred about the older Paleoindians before them, although they also hunted the larger extinct kinds of bison. Atlanteans evidently relied heavily upon bison and the thundering herds of bison were one reason for Poseidon to be associated with Earthquakes. The images of Poseidon seem to be deived from cave paintings of bison.
 
The differences between the Steppe Bison and the forest bison which seem to be of Atlantean derivation are also parallel to the changes that took place between the wild cattle or Aurochs and the domesticated shorthorned cattle of Europe: in particular the parallels between their skulls are striking. So whereas I no longer say that the complex of domesticated cattle, sheep and goats came out of Atlantis (there is substantial evidence that they were domesticated in Africa first and came into Atlantis from Africa sometime after 15000 BC), I do still feel that the differences between the typical wild and domesticated species of cattle, sheep and goats is indicative of a former Atlantean phase during whivch the animals became markedly smaller and more docile. The following illustration comparing wild and domesticated cattle is from the Wikipedia:
The animals are all strikingly smaller owing to the phenomenon of Insular dwarfism, which is well illustrated on the islands of the Mediterranean with pygmy mammoths on several of the islands during the Pleistocene or Ice Age:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwarf_elephant
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insular_dwarfism

Insular dwarfism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
   
The skeleton of a dwarf elephant from the island of Crete.
Insular dwarfism, a form of phyletic dwarfism,[1] is the process and condition of the reduction in size of large animals over a number of generations[a] when their population's range is limited to a small environment, primarily islands. This natural process is distinct from the intentional creation of dwarf breeds, called dwarfing. This process has occurred many times throughout evolutionary history, with examples including dinosaurs, like Europasaurus, and modern animals such as elephants and their relatives. This process, and other "island genetics" artifacts, can occur not only on traditional islands, but also in other situations where an ecosystem is isolated from external resources and breeding. This can include caves, desert oases, isolated valleys and isolated mountains ("sky islands"). Insular dwarfism is one aspect of the more general "island rule", which posits that when mainland animals colonize islands, small species tend to evolve larger bodies, and large species tend to evolve smaller bodies.

Possible causes of insular dwarfism

There are several proposed explanations for the mechanism which produces such dwarfism.[3][4]
One is a selective process where only smaller animals trapped on the island survive, as food periodically declines to a borderline level. The smaller animals need fewer resources and smaller territories, and so are more likely to get past the break-point where population decline allows food sources to replenish enough for the survivors to flourish. Smaller size is also advantageous from a reproductive standpoint, as it entails shorter gestation periods and generation times.[3]
In the tropics, small size should make thermoregulation easier.[3]
Among herbivores, large size confers advantages in coping with both competitors and predators, so a reduction or absence of either would facilitate dwarfing; competition appears to be the more important factor.[4]
Among carnivores, the main factor is thought to be the size and availability of prey resources, and competition is believed to be less important.[4] In tiger snakes, insular dwarfism occurs on islands where available prey is restricted to smaller sizes than are normally taken by mainland snakes. Since prey size preference in snakes is generally proportional to body size, small snakes may be better adapted to take small prey.[5]

Factors influencing the extent of dwarfing

For both herbivores and carnivores, island size, the degree of island isolation and the size of the ancestral continental species appear not to be of major direct importance to the degree of dwarfing.[4] However, when considering only the body masses of recent top herbivores and carnivores, and including data from both continental and island land masses, the body masses of the largest species in a land mass were found to scale to the size of the land mass, with slopes of about 0.5 log(body mass/kg) per log(land area/km2).[7] There were separate regression lines for endothermic top predators, ectothermic top predators, endothermic top herbivores and (on the basis of limited data) ectothermic top herbivores, such that food intake was 7 to 24-fold higher for top herbivores than for top predators, and about the same for endotherms and ectotherms of the same trophic level (this leads to ectotherms being 5 to 16 times heavier than corresponding endotherms)

[Given the formula abve it is possible to estimate that from the degree of Island Dwarfing seen across the board in these animal examples, the land area of Atlantis must have been between 100,000 square km and 1 million square km, the next order of magnitude up.-DD]
In my manuscript on Atlantis it mentions that the Romans had left us with a description of Atlantean Elephants: they were small elephants that compared to Indian elephants in the same way as ponies compared to fullsized horses. I then remarked that it seemed all of the animals on Atlantis were likethat, they were in general "Ponies" when compared to their mainland relatives. This means especially their horses also, because the various breeds associated with Atlantean cultural remains had actual ponies as their horses, including the well-known Shetland ponies but also the Icelandic ponies. In Ice-Age Cromagnon art, these ponies are differentiated from the wild horses like Prezwalski's horses, and they have long flowing manes and tails.


And then you have your corresponding reduction of wild sheep and goats to their domesticated relatives. In both sheep and goats there are genetic distinctions which means they were LESS likely to have anything to do with the wild sheep and goats of Western and Central Asia: for example our domesticated sheep have the same number of chromosomes as the Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep and NOT the same as the Urials and other Old World types. Atlantean cultural area (Meaning the Megalithic culture of Europe) seems in general associated with the "Moufflon" types of sheep.Modern Moufflons are not wild sheep but are early domesticated types gone feral, and the same is thought to be true of Bezoar goats in the mid-East.

 
And along with the other forms of island dwarfing there is the very marked difference in size between the two main types of people associated with Atlantis: the large Cro-Magnons and the much reduced Iberians, Capsians or Classic Mediterraneans that were characteristic of the beginning of the Neolithic and Megalithic periods. The Wikipedia entry on Cro-Magnons says "They are thought to have been 166 to 171 centimeters (about 5' 5" to 5' 7") tall, though large males may have stood as tall as 195 cm (6' 5") and taller": what this translates to is that Cro-Magnons came in with males that stood six to seven feet tall and women that stood 5'6 to just under 6 feet, and they dwindled away to the Capsian types that were approximately a foot shorter on the average in the males and six inches shorter in the females. This matches the estimated heights of the Canary Islanders. The dwindling in overall size, the less massive bone structure and slighter build, and the reduction in the teeth are all thought to be related to the introduction of regular, intensive agriculture, and that also accords to what we are seeing in the case of these domesticated animals (Other domesticated animals thought to be associated with these include cats and rabbits: Pigs and dogs were domesticated elsewhere and brought in separately. Pigeons and doves, and ducks and geese, are also sometimes included)
 
 
Cro-Magnon at left and Mediterranean at right, average male height and build indicated.
 
And some more on genetics:

 

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