Noah Slayed the Sabertooth
Last Tuesday I caught the newest NOVA, Last Extinction, detailing the demise of megafauna, i.e. the woolly mammoth, giant sloth, and sabertooth tiger. This is one of the better NOVAs I have seen recently. It both ignites the imagination and teaches inspiring science. You can check out the episode here. Or read about it here. The player leaves much to be desired, but at least you can stream it. Highlights include a scientist crying at a big eureka moment.
The short story of Last Extinction is that a giant comet crashed into Earth 12,900 years ago. The resulting rapid climate change destroyed the Megafauna, thus saving humanity from sabertooth tigers and giant armadillos. The show was so convincing it really got me to thinking. Suddenly I realized this same giant comet could have caused the super flood that Noah escapes in the Bible. Flood stories abound around the world. Could it be this comet made a super storm that rained for forty days and forty nights? Full theory after jump.
The theory that a comet destroyed the megafauna is still in debate, but the argument for a comet is quite convincing. It all comes back to finding stardust. There is a layer of soil called the black mat that exists in many places all over the world. Everywhere around the world it dates to 12,900 years ago. Scientists have recently discovered that this layer contains slightly higher iridium levels and more interestingly a bagillian nano diamonds. Many of these micro diamonds were found to have hexagonal structures. Hexagonal diamond structures are not formed naturally on Earth and are therefore likely to be of extra terrestrial origin. This layer is in effect stardust. These same nano diamonds were also found in ice samples taken from a Greenland glacier dated to the same time. The ice record also shows a major drop in temperature in the years following this geologic catastrophe.
It makes lots of sense that the big animals would die off in a rapid climate change while the small would survive. Big animals need a huge amount of food and territory to survive. If the climate were to suddenly get really cold they would be much less likely to be able to sustain their populations. Small animals on the other hand need much less food and territory and would be better suited to adapting to their new surroundings. Some theorize that humans arriving in North America hunted the megafauna to extinction, however these earliest Americans lacked the population density and geographic spread to destroy these animals. Also woolly mammoths didn’t just disappear from the Americas at this time. They also disappeared all over Europe and Asia, where they had been living alongside humans for thousands of years.
Skeptics say there is no impact crater known that dates to 12,900 years ago, and therefore a comet is not possible. However, experiments conducted in the Last Exinction demonstrate that if a comet breaks into thousands of pieces before it hits the ground it creates almost no visible crater. In 1996 the comet Shoemaker-Levi broke up into many pieces as it plunged into Jupiter. The tidal forces caused by a close call with moon or spiraling into the earth’s gravitation could rip a comet to pieces. Scientists in the show theorize that the comet could have collided with the ice cap. The ice cap would have functioned like a shield and shattered, breaking the force of the meteor and preventing a major crater.
This idea set my imagination going. What would happen if a giant comet broke up as it spiraled into Earth’s gravitation and its hot molten remnants crashed into the froze ice age pole? The massive heat of the impact would instantly turn all the ice to vapor sending huge billows of steam and ash into the atmosphere. I have to imagine this huge amount of water vapor could cause a global super storm that lasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Could it be this comet collision is what caused the mega flood told of in the Noah story in the Bible? I opened my bible to check it out.
“There were giants in the earth in those days…” Wow, Megafuana right there before the flood!!! “God said to Noah the end of all flesh is come before me; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. For the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth.” Holy cow!!! God is ending easy access to all that corrupted flesh provided by the megafuana. Also he is stopping the violence caused by sabertooth tigers, giant sloths, and monster camels. “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Fountains of the great deep = massive plume of stardust erupting into the upper atmosphere that later settles as the black mat. “The windows of heaven were opened” sounds like stars (comet shrapnel) raining down on to the earth. Finally God relents. “The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.” No more comets and no more big, corrupted, fleshy megafauna.
There you have it. A comet wiped out the megafauna 12,900 year ago. It also caused a megaflood / superstorm that spawned countless flood inspired creation myths around the world. In essence the Noah story exists to remind us of the terrible power of God and as well as the power of life to recover. It just so happens it may be recounting a real catastrophe. By 12900 years ago humans looked and acted just like we do today. I mean sure they were shorter and lacked the ability to write, but they had spread across the entire globe. It seems totally plausible that an event this terrifying would be passed down orally long enough that it made it into creation myth of the Bible, Genesis. I can’t wait for the History Channel special Noah Slayed the Sabertooth to come out. (This is at least as plausible as all those Nostradamus shows.) If stone age humanity can survive this, we can stop worrying about / prophesying the end of the world, and start trying to live responsibly in the world we have.