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Stories of lost continents and cities have stirred men's minds for centuries. To this day the search goes on for the island of Atlantis, which was supposedly destroyed by earthquakes and tidal waves in the 15th century B.C. But if the legend is to be believed, two vastly bigger civilizations have vanished without a trace- also victims of natural disasters. They are the continents of Lemuria and Mu, each one credited with being the original Garden of Eden.
The theory that Lemuria once covered a huge area of what is now the Indian Ocean gained scholarly support in the mid-19th century, to explain similarities in animal and plant life on continents separated by thousands of miles of sea. The british zooligist P. L. Sclater coined the name Lemuria from the lemur family of animals, which are found in Africa, Southern India, and Malaya. He claimed that lemurs must have been split up when the sea swamped their central homeland- an area that presumably stretched from the Malagay Republic across the Souther Coast of Asia to the Malay Archipelago.
This theory was backed up by the findings of similar animal fossils in the South African province of Natal and southern India. Nineteenth-century evolutionists, such as England's Thomas Huxley, expressed their belief in Lemuria and the German biologist Ernest Hawckel went a step further by suggestiing that the vanished continent had been "the cradle of the human race." From this developed the idea that the continent of Lemuria was Eden.
The lost continent of Mu was supposed to have been situated in the Pacific. According to Col. James Churchward, the Anglo-American who first told the world of Mu in 1870, this continent was 5,000 miles long and 3,000 miles wide, with its center just south of the Equator.
Churchward claimed to have learned about the Mu in India during the famine of 1866. He described how a Hindu priest taught him an ancient language, Naacal, which was apparently the original tongue of all mankind. The colonel was then able to decipher the story of Mu on ancient stone tablets hidden in the priest's temple.
The tablet revealed that man first appeared in Mu 2 Million years ago, and a sophisticated race of 64 Million had evolved. Then the continent was completely destroyed in a single volcanic eruption. But there were some survivors, and from them sprang all the world's present races.
Bothe Lemuria and Mu may well have existed, for earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions have changed the face of the earth many times. Certainly continents thousand of miles apart were once joined together, which accounts for plants and animals of the same species being found in different parts of the world. It is now known that this is due to continental drift- masses of land moving away from each other. But the continents drifted apart long before man first appeared on earth everal million years ago.