Nothing stays ‘Lost’ forever.

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  • Tuesday, December 25, 2012
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  • Greig Beck
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  • Thriller writers and their readers, especially those of us who dive into the realm of the fantastic, are searchers. We know there is something else there, somewhere, waiting to be found – and yes, we want to believe!

    We avidly consume stories, online clips, newspaper excerpts and rumors about the existence of the extraordinary. Whether it’s the large unidentified sonar contact from the stygian depths of the Mariana Trench, the fresh mammoth tracks in Siberia, the cave in the Himalayas showing evidence of a creature large and magnificent, or the stories of something the size of a Mack Truck pushing over trees down in the Amazon’s Gran Chaco Boreal. We want them all to be true – please, just one glimpse!

    I’ll be honest with you, I read and write about what I secretly wish for. And you know what? From time to time, something comes along that makes me stop and think, and perhaps, believe just a little more.

    Take this example – we’ve all read about the stories of the lost world, lost continent, lost valley, the land that time forgot, or even the land of Pellucidar – a thousand references and stories. But are they all make-believe?

    The accepted wisdom among paleontologists now is that the colossal creatures of prehistory were wiped out 65 million years ago when an asteroid collided with Earth. However, it is now also accepted that there were pockets of resistance – valleys and remote places where the creatures didn’t all die out but instead managed to hang on – not for a dozen, or a hundred, or even a hundred thousand years, but for over half a million.

    New evidence suggests an "isolated community" escaped annihilation and lived on a rocky, desert plateau in North America. Experts say a "pocket" of dinosaurs survived and roamed a remote area of what is now New Mexico and Colorado. Carbon dating of newly discovered bones in the San Juan Basin proves that these giant creatures lived for another half-a-million years. The discovery, published in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica, has been hailed as one of the most important breakthroughs this century.

    The bones were discovered buried at Ojo Alamo, a soft sandstone valley deep in the remote San Juan Basin. A team of experts unearthed the bones, which included thirtyfour from a single hadrosaur, and used carbon dating techniques to age-date them. According to the results, they were over half a million years younger than any other dinosaur bones previously found.

    Jim Fassett, author of the research of the US Geological Survey, said many would still doubt the discovery.  However, David Polly, editor of Palaeontologia Electronica, said: "One thing is certain – if dinosaurs did survive, they were not as widespread as they were before the end of the Cretaceous.” It meant any survivors were few, scattered, and perhaps living out their lives hidden in remote corners of our planet.

    In 1912, exactly one hundred years ago, ‘The Lost World’ novel was first published by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and told the story an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals still survived. The man was a visionary, and perhaps, just like us, he was someone who just wanted to believe!

    Nothing Stays ‘Lost’ Forever, by GREIG BECK – 25 Dec 2012


    Toby Tate said...

    When I was a kid, I read The Lost World so many times the pages started falling out of the book! It was definitely an inspiration for my own writing.

    Steve Manke said...

    I enjoy the juxtaposition. As readers and writers we want to believe. As soon as science offers evidence to support our desire, scientists strive to discredit the discovery and destroy a dream come true. It's a never ending process that we can count on.

    At least the process will never stop fueling our imaginations!

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