The discovery of a forest 11,000 years old buried intact in Michigan, with treetops poking through the sand, has raised alarm about the possible speed of global warming.
The five-acre forest of hundreds of spruce, just over ten miles from the shore of Lake Superior, was covered with sand and water when a nearby glacier melted at the end of the Ice Age.
What has shocked scientists is that analysis of the tree-rings shows that the climate warmed so rapidly that it left no mark on the normal growth of the trees before they were flooded.
“It’s kind of scary. The conclusion, based on the tree rings, is that there was no real warning of the dramatic warming that caused the glacier to melt,”Theodore Bornhorst, Professor of Geology at Michigan Technological University, said.
“The question today is whether we would get no warning of a real dramatic warming. What it says is that, in 50 years’ time, we could have a dramatic shift in climate,” he said. “If the ice cap started melting, sea levels would rise dramatically, with major problems for coastal cities.”
The heyday of the woolly mammoth was the Pleistocene Epoch, stretching from 1.8 million years ago to the end of the last ice age 11,000 years ago.
Mammoths thrived particularly well in Siberia, where dry grasslands once stretched for hundreds of miles, supporting a vibrant ecosystem of mammoths, bison, and other jumbo herbivores. The mammoth fossils on Wrangel Island are the youngest that have ever been found.
It was there, apparently, that mammoths made their last stand. They died out only 3,800 years ago.
It had always been thought that the mammoth died out about ten thousand years ago, with the end of the ice age, but the tusk appeared to be 7,000 years old. It was so unlikely, so Buttanyan tested five more tusks, but the new dates pointed to an even more remarkable conclusion.
Hidden up here [Wrangel Island] in the Arctic, the mammoth hadn’t just survived the end of the ice age; it was walking these hills at the time of the Egyptian Pharaohs, only 3500 years ago.
This discovery has led to the re-examination of the complex chain of ’cause and effect’ that made mammoths die out everywhere else, and in the process has revitalized the whole debate about how species might avoid extinction.
A bizarre apocalyptic scenario that originated decades ago is being raised again by autistic religious Jews in Israel who reportedly communicate spiritual messages through facilitated communication. Every aspect of this story is shrouded in controversy.
The Original Theory of Nibiru
Zechariah Sitchin (1920-2010) was a Russian-born Jewish scientist and author who suggested that there is a planet beyond Pluto called Nibiru (sometimes referred to as Planet X) which passes through our solar system every 3,600 years.
Approximately 50 years ago, Sitchin determined that Nibiru was about 50 years away from coming close again. According to the theory, its anticipated reappearance is expected to result in extensive damage to Earth’s land masses and death to millions. This kind of dramatic End of Days event could be seen as the fulfillment of these dark verses from the first chapter of Zephaniah:
15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 A day of the horn and alarm, against the fortified cities, and against the high towers. 17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath; but the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy; for He will make an end, yea, a terrible end, of all them that dwell in the earth.
Sitchin’s books have sold millions of copies and have been translated into more than 20 languages. In his best-selling book, called The Twelfth Planet, first published in 1991, Sitchin introduced the theory of Nibiru. His ideas are exceedingly controversial among scientists and academics who claim that his work is based on flawed reasoning, mistranslations and inaccurate assertions.
In an article on the NASA website titled Beyond 2012: Why the World Didn’t End, NASA scientists respond to a question about Nibiru, calling it “an Internet hoax”. Their full comment is, “Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist.”
The theory of a celestial body called Nibiru headed toward Earth recently reappeared in the communications of three Orthodox Jewish men in Jerusalem. Daniel, Binyamin and Menachem are autistic and cannot communicate through normal means. They rely on a controversial technique, known as facilitated communication, in which the autistic person is given an alphabet board or a computer keyboard to spell out words.
Facilitated communication has been in use since at least 1985 as a way of communicating with those who cannot speak normally. Proponents of the technique claim that people with debilitating autism or severe mental retardation actually can communicate if given physical support to type on an alphabet board or keyboard.
The Autism National Committee, an autism advocacy organization, has a policy approving of facilitated communication, which reads, “Facilitated Communication is one accepted and valid way in which individuals with autism can exercise their right to say what they have to say.”
Opponents of facilitated communication claim that the facilitator is actually the one doing the communicating. In an article published in 2003, the American Psychological Association concluded, “The short version of this long story is that study after study showed that facilitated communication didn’t really work. Apparently, the positive results that had generated so much enthusiasm were the results of a subtle process in which well-intended facilitators were answering questions themselves – without any awareness that they were doing so.”