What if Antarctica Was A Green Continent?

Johan, golfer gal was searching for something a mysterious theorized planet since Uranus is the discovery in the 1750s. Astronomers noticed it had an irregular orbit.

It was hypothesized for decades that there was another far more distant planet affecting it in 1846 while pointing his telescope at the night sky. GAO, it founded the eighth planet Neptune, located $4.4 billion kilometers from Earth.

It was so dim that it was discovered using mathematics and the laws of gravity. Just 30 years earlier, the first human set eyes on Antarctica, we observed seven out of the eight planets of our solar system before knowing about the existence of a landmass larger than Australia. And that's simply because Antarctica is a world of ice difficult for any human to travel to.

Until the 19th century before those glaciers, it was as diverse in life as any other continent. That was until 35 million years ago when the Earth's temperature plummeted. Antarctica's native fauna and vegetation having nowhere to go.

Separate on all sides by ocean eventually dwindled and became extinct. So what if this was never the case? What if Antarctica was a green continent?

During the Eocene epoch from 56 to 33 million years ago, the entire earth was far warmer than it is today, according to Noah.

It was from nine to 14 degrees Celsius hotter on average or around 16 to 25 degrees hotter for American viewers. While it doesn't seem like much of a change, this had drastic results even in regions near the Poles.

There have been found fossils of poems and flora that only could have existed in a warm climate. Antarctica's coast at this time would have resembled Florida or Southern California.

Thanks to a higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and warm ocean currents brushing up against Antarctica's coast, we have an equivalent scenario today with Europe, which ranges from temperate to Mediterranean climate.

Despite being the latitude of Canada without the North Atlantic, current Europe would resemble in many ways Russia. A city like Moscow doesn't have access to the warm air from the ocean. As a city like Dublin, which is why their climate differs so much.

Despite being near the same latitude 50 million years ago, Antarctica probably had the same gradual transition of biomes, much like Europe.

This is where I want this alternate timeline to begin. The global climate remains the same as it was during the middle Eocene. The continents still shift like in our timeline, same map as the present day. The climate is just different to allow Antarctica to not be this.

I know it's absurd. You know it is. And while it's scientifically improbable for Antarctica to remain green, let's go full alien space bats and roll the. ( By the way How Close to Each Other Can Two Alien Civilizations Exist and this another article.)

50 million years ago, Antarctica had too closely connected neighbors, South America and Australia allowed for terrestrial mammals and other animals to cross between the three. Which leads to the first question. What type of mammals would have actually populated Antarctica? There are three types of mammal groups percentiles.

Those that give live birth through the womb, mono dreams, the weirdos that lay eggs and marsupials whose young goes inside their pouch, which acts as an outside womb. There are far more differences, but these are the most notable distinctions. Percentiles and marsupials diverged from one another 160 million years ago when the earth looked like this.

And even though both before that asteroid entered the Dyna reign were small and mouse-like, they were still distinct groups. And once the dinosaurs were gone, the competition began. Marsupials surprisingly evolved in North America, some of which migrated south right before panga split apart. Placental mammals thrived in the northern continent.

Lorenza eventually replacing marsupials on their own original home. But down South and Gondwana, marsupials were starting to evolve in South America, filling new nations. And those marsupials crossed farther south into a still green, lush Antarctica by 50 million years ago. A few had even reached into Australia, diversifying into the strange fauna that populates the continent today.

Antarctica could have been, or at least would have been. Joe says rich and marsupial life as South America once had, or Australia still has Australia. Before the arrival of humans had large megafauna, perhaps Antarctica had the very same, especially since marsupials crossing on this continent first.

So in South America will lose its large marsupials once colliding with North America, which is an entire story in itself. By an alternate modern-day, the only two continents with large marsupial megafauna would be Antarctica and Australia.

Australia is practically one large desert except for the East Coast, the good coast. But Antarctica would be full of dense forest and large mountain as biomes.

The Trans-Antarctic range is the sixth-largest range on earth, longer than the Urals, Apple, Asia, and the Himalayans. Perhaps given the chance, we could see strange alpine marsupials convergent early, evolving to fill the same niche as mountain goats or cougars.

Antarctica would have its own vast range of unique animals but evolved over 50 million years to become stranger in distinctly unique to the landmass. Even with the land being generally warm, the Earth's axis wanted to change, which means living on Antarctica would still be strange because of, well, the seasons themselves.

Antarctica only has two seasons, summer and winter, and during the winter there is no sun for four months, while during the summer there is constant daylight for the life on this continent. The natural pattern of the seasons simply doesn't exist and be a land of extremes for plants.

If there were large forests, it would lose their leaves. Even during mild or not winter conditions simply to retain energy without the sunlight. So with all that said, gazing weirder.

Well, that some humans.

Ok. Stick with me without Antarctica's ice and a far, far warmer planet, humans and certainly the modern 21st-century civilization we see today would not exist. Think about the coastlines and how dramatically that changes the fate of every influential civilization of our own history. But let's have some fun with this idea. Don't take any of this really seriously. It's just a thought experiment.

The rest of the world is at the normal temperature and history is entirely unaffected in such an alternate timeline. There wouldn't be any humans that set foot on the continent, at least until recently. Human migration across the continents occurred during a time of lowered sea levels, even into Australia.

But there never would be a possible land bridge between Antarctica and the rest of the world. Antarctica would remain a time capsule left to its own localized ecosystem for 30 million years until that is with the arrival of the first humans. So who would be the first ones to colonize this land? Well, I'd assume it probably be around the 12 hundreds to 14 hundred by the Polynesians. The Polynesians blow my mind in how they successfully colonized so much of the Pacific.

Finding just small volcanic islands thousands of miles away from home. If Antarctica never had ice, the first people who probably would have landed onto the continent would have been the majority sailing south from New Zealand. Word spreads of a giant unknown land far south and explorations begin alongside the coast. Let's just assume the temperature of the coastline remains tropical-like it was in the Eocene.

This continent is still a strange land for any humans that set foot on it. Imagine what unique marsupials and animals from South America could have diversified into Mary. To see this habitable warm continent for four months of the year is in complete darkness. For people who have the sun and moon as gods in their mythology, periods where they simply don't appear could have a profound impact on how they viewed this land or the legends of a new culture.

Entire traditions and events occurring annually with the disappearance or arrival of the sun. If there was a period of eternal night every year. Perhaps this is a prime opportunity for mushrooms and fungus native to the land to spread in the dark, making this land while Polynesian. A truly distinct and almost mystical area depending on how far inland they go. I could imagine any megafauna on the coast losing numbers drastically. Historically, humans arriving anywhere doesn't work out for the local animals as history continues on.

Eventually, the age of exploration goes into effect in Europe.

Funny enough, Europeans would believe that Antarctica exists even before actually seeing or ever hearing about it. For centuries, there was a legend amongst explorers just like Eldorado or prust or John, the mythical Christian King of Asia. The idea of Terra Australia's fabled massive continent in the Southern Hemisphere proposed by Ptolemy.

It was rival Eurasia because the world had to be balanced, of course. In our timeline, after centuries of exploration, only one new landmass was found to be farther than any other. The Dutch called it New Holland because of course, they did. Once the British took over, Australia was deemed to be a more suitable name.

There is no probability that any other detached body of land of nearly equal extent will ever be found in a more southern latitude. The named Terra Australis will, therefore, remain descriptive of the geographical importance of this country. Yeah, about that, since Australia was already awkwardly given that name once Antarctica was eventually discovered.

Difficult ice to sail through will do that. Another name now had to be given. Well, what's the opposite of the Arctic? And so Antarctica was given its name without the ice. Antarctica would be discovered probably around the same time as New Holland. He'd be an actually habitable landmass with settled people and the farthest, most continent. Just like the legend said, Australia's.

The Australia of our timeline would probably just be called New Holland, which I don't think anyone really would have stuck with all of Moora, which James Cook thought that Mary referred to Australia as. But it was actually another island, or perhaps so whole from the first Dutch names of the region.

The interesting thing with the European colonization of Antarctica is now called Australia. Is it be on the exact opposite side of the continent as the native inhabitants, at least for a time since the best shipping to the Pacific would be through the Drake Passage, Europeans accidentally discover Antarctica by its northernmost island.

What kept explorers from discovering the Antarctic Peninsula in our own timeline was the ICC, a barrier basically discouraging any further exploration south.

Even Captain Cook had to turn back during his voyage saying Screw this. If there is a terror australis, it isn't worth it. Without that obstacle, Antarctica or at least its two islands are found far sooner. A race for this new continent is assured. A new Antarctic colony probably won't work out fantastically for Spain in the long run.

Considering how their own empire was looking around the 18th century, the Dutch really only cared about trading partners. So maybe a few near the Polynesians. Most likely the British would be the empire to settle the most people on the continent.

How successful any European colonization effort would be as well. Up to debate the Falklands, which is the closest in terms of British colonies, was abandoned on one occasion due to economic hardships. Just like any venture, it's likely expeditions are made.

And since it's so far south, the difficulty with settling Australia is those four months of darkness and time before electricity. The only natural light would be from the moon or fire. Fire in itself requires fuel or any people living there. Forests are constantly cut down or coal is mined even for the British.

This land could put strains on their empire. Any venture into Antarctica is dominated by the cycle of two seasons, camps and colonies seeing an influx of people in the summer. Then a large portion of the population sailing away for the winter, leaving a few behinds.

Half of the year. Perhaps these colonists sail back to the Falklands or maybe even to South Africa to wait out the winter. Now, while the skies on occasion could be beautiful, the landscape mysteriously shines with a war. Australis would be a challenge to permanently settle, especially for an 18th to the 19th-century colonist.

This might seem like being on another planet inspiring for literature across the English world, of course. But to live on? Perhaps not. Agriculture doesn't see the typical harvests of the rest of the world. Planting season begins as soon as the sun arrives harvest right before the winter sets in. It'll probably be a pain for any herder.

Months of protecting their animals from any Antarctic predators in the winter night. A month of dealing with the constant sun. How would farm animals not adapted with months of constant night and day live in such an environment?

Well, I don't know, but certainly not in a way beneficial to a poor. Farmer Unless there was some major economic incentive like, say, gold with Australia, Antarctica for European empires in a pre-electricity civilization isn't the most coveted place.

It's a mysterious land at the bottom of the world. But it's not going to be easy to encourage colonies to move down there since the battle still hasn't gone away any effort to colonize the land and have a permanent functioning society. Probably won't be realized until the invention of modern electricity.

As anyone who really doesn't like the short days of winter knows, electricity isn't the best replacement, at least mentally, for sunlight, while it's still would be constant night during a large portion of the year. Now it's at least habitable and doesn't require personal resources to use as a lamp, but greater power grids instead of.

So to begin wrapping all of this up. It'd be interesting to see how humans actually subtle and develop Antarctica. What the interaction between the Polynesians and Europeans would be. Maybe the strange seasons are enough that it discourages investments for a while into a colony, at least until the late 19th or 20th centuries with its location near British own South Africa. Historically, I could see the two regions being close with most of the colonists coming from there or moving back and forth between the two.

Whatever the fate of its colonies is, if they eventually form their own independent state, if given enough time, it certainly results in the extinction of lineages and marsupials that existed undisturbed for millions of years.

Even if the ice didn't wipe out these creatures, humans certainly would have to be a time capsule. Something Antarctica really isn't seen as in our own timeline. Another continent, while the ecosystem that lives there is fantastic and should be preserved.

A little part of me kind of wishes it never had the glaciers that it does today, even though I do love penguins. Strange mysteries. It hides underneath the ice. And while we look to place people on Mars, this continent on our own planet is so harsh we barely pay it any mind except for scientific research and alternate. Antarctica would have been quite the strange land to inhabit, even if it was the night for months on end.
What if Antarctica Was A Green Continent? What if Antarctica Was A Green Continent? Reviewed by Mahi Uddin on December 02, 2019 Rating: 5

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