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Two Smithsonian scientists, Charles Schuchert and David White, have just returned from the wilds of west Greenland, bringing back valuable collections. In a region of everlasting ice and snow they have been exploring luxuriant tropical forests. Far to the north of the Arctic circle they have been studying a flora consisting of palms, tree ferns, and other plants belonging properly to the neighborhood of the equator. These forests, however, and the trees and varied forms of plant life which compose them are exceedingly ancient. In fact, they disappeared from the face of the earth several millions of years ago, and only their fossil remains are found buried in the strata of the rocks. It was these remains that Messrs, Schuchert and White went to investigate. They wanted to get specimens for the National Museum, and other objects of a geological nature were in view.
Greenland was once upon a time a tropical country. That is proved absolutely by the remains of an extensive tropical flora which are found there. Where now a sheet of solid ice over a mile thick covers mountain and valley, and mighty frozen rivers called glaciers make their way to the sea and hatch icebergs, there was in earlier days a verdure-clad wilderness of luxuriant vegetation. Together with the palms and tree ferns, there were trees related to the giant sequoias of our own west coast; also representatives of the "gingko," the sacred tree of Japan and of the Eucalyptus family, which today is restricted to Australia. Climbing vines festooned the trunks of these monarchs of an ancient forest with draperies of foliage, while close to the ground grew those curious dwarf trees called "cycads," somewhat resembling palms in miniature, in the midst of a tangled undergrowth of ferns and other flowerless plants that carpted the densely wooded areas.
On the coast of Greenland are found the long-abandoned ruins of many buildings erected by the ancient Norsemen, of rock, and very substantial. According to tradition, a Norse navigator named Gunnibiorn landed in the country in the year 872 A. D. The Norsemen certainly went as far as 75 degrees north latitude, which cannot be reached by the stoutest modern ship without serious risk. These voyages were accomplished, too, in half-decked, open boats. A stone found near Upernavik, in latitude 72 degrees and 30 minutes, bears an inscription in Runic dated 1135. In the old sagas and chronicles there is little mention of ice as an obstruction to navigation, and it is evident that the climate in those days was much warmer than it is now. Since then the glaciers have filled the fiords and have made the country uninhabitable, save in a few spots along the coast. The aboriginal Eskimo of the region were known as Skraellings, or "Little People," by the Norsemen, who treated them barbarously. But if tradition does not lie, the Skraellings got ample revenge in the end, totally wiping out the last of the Norse colonies. They built an immense raft of boats, over which they erected a low and irregular scaffolding, covered with tanned and bleached skins, so that when afloat the affair looked like an iceberg. It was turned adrift on the fiord, being permitted to float with the tide to the shore, where the Norse settlement was located. The inhabitants were taken by surprise, and all of them were killed.
Originally posted by SteveR
This is well known, particularly the connection in Viking history. But, to an open mind, it is not damning. Just because the arctic used to be much warmer does not somehow debunk the effect of man made polluntants in the atmosphere. We know for a fact we have already degraded the ozone layer, so one cannot rule out human effect on the environment. This piece of history although relevant subject matter can't tell us what is happening now.
Originally posted by Atlantican
I wonder how credible SMITHSONIAN scientists are?! LOL!!!!!!!!!
Yep this is the most amazing and relevant piece of history ...