Out of Eden, the Anthropocene, and the last Younger-Dryas extinction

To understand what follows, the reader should be familiar with my paper, “The Flooding of the Mediterranean Basin at the Younger-Dryas Boundary” and its findings. They include: (1) identifying geology’s historic and far-reaching ‘no Flood’ error; (2) identifying and analyzing the Younger-Dryas impact that delivered the worldwide Flood waters (i.e., the Younger-Dryas event and the worldwide Flood are synonymous); (3) establishing that the Mediterranean Sea flooded through the Strait of Gibraltar ~12,800 years before present; (4) recognizing that humans are not out of Africa – we are from landscapes now submerged under more than two miles of water; (5) recognizing that humans are ill-adapted to the post-Flood ecosystem and that continued survival necessitates environmental abuses. Also, as in my paper, I employ the term ‘IO’ to represent the large, comet-like impacting object that delivered the worldwide Flood.

Out of Eden

The nearly unimaginable volume of water delivered by the IO chased humans upward from landscapes that they had occupied for millions of years. It was an unrelenting pursuit that lasted several weeks, and it would nearly kill our species – the number of human survivors across the planet would number in the thousands. Survival trauma inspired commemoration in ubiquitous oral and written traditions. Some of the oral traditions, however embellished over time, found their way to the written. Examples include two biblical accounts, Noah’s ark, and the story of Adam and Eve.

Regarding Noah and the Flood, we should first note that the story pre-dates biblical times by roughly 10,000 years. If Noah was an actual person, then he probably operated his craft in the pre-Flood sea that existed in the western half of the Mediterranean Basin (see Fig. 6 in my paper). Med denizens would have observed the IO on its approach, felt the impact-induced earthquakes, and experienced nearly immediate changes to regional weather – persistent rains were among the monumental changes taking place across the planet. Thus, the reported forty days and nights of precipitation represent the period of time from immediately after the IO’s impact until its waters began flowing through the Strait of Gibraltar from the west. As the story evolved, rainfall would be attributed as the cause of the Flood.

The animals that Noah encountered, post-Deluge, would include a mixture of those that existed for tens of millions of years in formerly upland, pre-Flood domains, as well as species from formerly abyssal landscapes that survived upward, like us (related discussion here). Today, we encounter a subset of initially Flood-surviving species – as the post-Diluvian ecosystem emerged, some of them would become extinct because they could neither adapt nor migrate to suitable landscapes (e.g., wooly mammoths).

Noah’s craft is reported to have landed on Ararat, so candidate locations are post-Flood landforms either in or surrounding the Med. Ararat might have been the name of a pre-flood mountain that was sufficiently tall as to become a post-Flood Mediterranean island, like Sicily. Certainly, Noah’s Ararat is not a mountain in Turkey.

Like Noah and the ark, the legend of Adam and Eve is another Flood-survivor story – it has nothing to do with creation (unless one considers the post-Flood period as a ‘new Earth’). Pre-Flood humans, represented by the pair, were naked (better said: furless) because they were adapted to the pre-Flood, warmer abyssal ecosystem. The post-Flood Earth is much cooler, so Flood-surviving humans recognized that they were ill-adapted and that clothing would be necessary to survive; it is not that the pair recognized that they were naked after eating something.

The pair encounters the serpent, Satan, which happens to be among the many names by which the IO was known (among other names are Phaeton and Set). As detailed in my paper, the 2500 km (1500 mile) diameter IO was not a comet but rather the source object from which comets fragment. So, imagine its immense tail as it approached Earth – it would have been brightly illuminated, incredibly long and, well, serpentine. Thus, the snake is an allegory for the IO, and its effects were so planet-altering that humans found themselves ill-adapted: in the new, post-Flood ecosystem, we must work, toil, compete, cooperate, and acquire and transform resources – all to create survivable habitats. That is, Satan, the celestial IO, cast us out of Eden and caused an immediate change to our nature.

Although we will never know exactly what it was like in abyssal, pre-Flood Earth, our physical attributes lend some insight. Certainly, it was much warmer, which, as already stated, accounts for our furless appearance. (Our simian relatives evolved in ecosystems that were more than two miles above ours, which made them much cooler, thereby accounting for their fur.) We need fresh water, so we lived close to its sources; it is nearly certain that diverse cultures or clans shared a common fresh water source, e.g. the Ganges. The structure of our feet might indicate that we traversed sandy or soft domains. We walk upright, which implies that our ecosystems were lightly forested – being upright allowed us to see further. The atmosphere was thicker above our abyssal landscapes, and this caused the attenuation of UV and higher frequency sun light, especially in locations further from the tropics. This would account for reports that humans only recently began to see the color blue, as well as regionally dependent skin pigment variations and hair color diversity.

There were no pre-Flood cities because there was no need for the aggregation and distribution of resources – we were properly adapted, and suitable food was indigenous to our various habitats. Atlantis was not a city; rather, it was a region through which an abundant fresh water source flowed, and its canals were created to increase fresh water access to as many denizens of the clan as possible.

The Anthropocene

Out of Eden for nearly thirteen-thousand years, we continue our quest to survive as an ill-adapted species. Unfortunately, there are few places, if any, on post-Flood Earth that are Eden-like (where could we walk around naked while simultaneously supported by adequate food sources?). To survive, at least initially, required stamina and problem-solving skills. Acquiring suitable foods, combatting cold environs, building shelters, and accomplishing simple tasks such as walking would favor those inclined to discovery and innovation.

The myriad survival tasks would be difficult, if not impossible, for an individual – it would become readily apparent that our continued existence required group effort, or eusocial behaviors (yes, I communicated with EO Wilson prior to his recent death). Specialization in post-Flood survival-related skills would provide advantage to the clan; region-specific eusocial adaptations would lead to distinct cultures with associated, survival-related norms. Successful cultural norms, strategies, and implementations would foster larger populations which, in turn, would lead to greater demands for – and exploitation of – natural resources.

Some claim that we are in a new geologic era, the Anthropocene, wherein human activity is the dominant influence on the environment. In the context of the above discussion: the Anthropocene is the most recent (~12,800 years) post-Flood period during which humanity’s innate desire to survive, along with the demands our ill-adaptation inflict on the environment, has dominated the planet.

The Last of the Younger-Dryas Extinctions

The Flood changed the entire planet. In addition to the obvious inundation of formerly abyssal landscapes, the newly introduced waters initiated global weather patterns that would transform regional ecosystems. Inland seas would evaporate, former rainforests would dry up, burn, and become deserts, former steppes would become rainforests, etc., – all recognized Younger-Dryas effects. These irreversible, Flood-induced changes would cause many extinctions.

Though we will never know the flora and fauna lost in our ancestral, abyssal landscapes, we are nonetheless aware of many species that became extinct ~12,800 years before present in landscapes that we now occupy. For instance, in “Disappearance of Ice Age Megafauna and the Younger-Dryas Impact,” Firestone reports the loss of 82% of mammals weighing over 40kg in North America, 74% in South America, and 59% in Europe, 52% in Asia, and 16% in sub-Saharan Africa. Other publications reporting Younger-Dryas extinctions are readily available (e.g. here and here).

Despite the monumental changes to the planet, we coped and are now more than 600 generations into our post-Flood survival story. In a sense, we have more than ‘coped’ – we have succeeded: presently, there are roughly 8 billion of us, each ill-adapted and seeking suitable environments. (Not too long ago, it might have been said that we sought suitable environments so as to propagate the species; however, we have ‘progressed’ to a point where that is no longer necessarily true.) Our ability to adapt has led to the creation of personal Eden’s that provide shelter, warmth, and food – all supported by infrastructures that afford the transportation and distribution of necessary resources. These individual Eden’s exist within major clans (aka nation-states) that compete for survival-supporting natural resources, as well as what might be the optimal system for distributing them.

Some say that we have succeeded to such an extent that our present numbers exceed the planet’s carrying capacity for our species. Thus, our population must be reduced. If so, then the unique feature of the Anthropocene is that humans have become the primary threat to their continued survival.

How will our numbers be reduced, and who will enact it? And, even if our numbers were to be reduced to some agreed upon level, what would prevent a repeat of technology-supported exponential population growth that led to the present problem? The answers to these questions exist, and they are not pleasant (at least not to me).

I will finish with this: though we are sentient, we are wholly clueless about the nature of our survival problem due to the pervasive effects stemming from geology’s ‘no Flood’ error. Would a universal and correct understanding of who we are, where we are from, and what has happened to our planet somehow help? Probably not. So, the last of the Younger-Dryas extinctions will be us.