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CONTENTS of entire timeline

CONTENTS of 59,999,999 BC- 51,000 BC Large land and aquatic mammals appear; many kinds of primates appear (almost as many go extinct); an island continent finally disappears for good; the Mediterranean valley turns into the Mediterranean Sea; human beings emerge, develop housing, clothes, lamps, and drugs, breed dogs, use horses; Mars dies (or goes dormant)

This page last updated on or about 10-31-05
a - j r m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l


Approximately 20,000,000 BC: The last major island continent of a sequence including at least three and existing as dry land for many millions of years now sinks beneath the seas in the southern Indian Ocean

Twenty million years from now it will be known to submariners as the "Kerguelen Plateau", and lie two kilometers deep. But for around 90 million years previous to the present sinking it was a massive piece of dry land on Earth.

-- "'Lost continent' discovered" By BBC News Online Science Editor Dr David Whitehouse, BBC News Online: Sci/Tech, 5-27-99, ["http://www.bbc.co.uk/"]

Note that the previous boom in ape species two million years earlier means apes existed simultaneously with the last couple of million years of a dry Kerguelen continent. However, from existing evidence it seems safe to assume the Kerguelen continent at best offered an evolutionary environment similar to Australia/New Zealand, with perhaps some intriguing marsupial and flightless bird species and other exotic evolutionary niches all its own. It was even more isolated than New Zealand for a very long time, and sufficiently far south to put it into a climate category similar to southernmost New Zealand, or the southern tip of South America. There's a good chance that an enormous (up to 15 feet tall [Terror, Take Two By Carl Zimmer, Discover Magazine, found on or about 9-1-99]) flightless bird like the New Zealand Moa also lived on the Kerguelen continent before its submergence.

Another caveat about higher life forms and evolution on the Kerguelen continent however was its mostly low altitude and featureless plains. There was little in the way of terrain features to protect Kerguelen life from raging sea storms or tidal waves spawned by earthquake, volcano, or large meteor strikes during the land mass' dry span. Thus, the continent may not have offered a level of bio-diversity comparable to New Zealand, Australia, or Madagascar, after all (it's a toss up).

-- Illustrated Transcript of The Future Eaters, Illustrated transcript of episode 2, Nomads of the Wind, Presented and Narrated by Dr Tim Flannery, Author of the Future Eaters, Australian Broadcasting Corporation. email: science@your.abc.net.au, http://www2.abc.net.au/, found on or about 9-12-99

Though there might be a chance a few small primate species somehow developed or otherwise found their way to the lost continent, it seems very unlikely any primate closely related to humanity's ancestors ever lived there.

Some of the links on this search list may be helpful in visualizing the size and location of this continent that Earth loses now to the sea.

[To see more about this lost land, please refer to A possible history of the mysterious frozen Antarctic and sunken Kerguelen continents]

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