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Urantia Book Paper 58 Page 664
58:0.1 IN ALL Satania there are only sixty-one worlds similar to Urantia, life-modification planets. The majority of inhabited worlds are peopled in accordance with established techniques; on such spheres the Life Carriers are afforded little leeway in their plans for life implantation. But about one world in ten is designated as a decimal planet and assigned to the special registry of the Life Carriers; and on such planets we are permitted to undertake certain life experiments in an effort to modify or possibly improve the standard universe types of living beings.
1. PHYSICAL-LIFE PREREQUISITES
58:1.1 600,000,000 years ago the commission of Life Carriers sent out from Jerusem arrived on Urantia and began the study of physical conditions preparatory to launching life on world number 606 of the Satania system. This was to be our six hundred and sixth experience with the initiation of the Nebadon life patterns in Satania and our sixtieth opportunity to make changes and institute modifications in the basic and standard life designs of the local universe.
58:1.2 It should be made clear that Life Carriers cannot initiate life until a sphere is ripe for the inauguration of the evolutionary cycle. Neither can we provide for a more rapid life development than can be supported and accommodated by the physical progress of the planet.
58:1.3 The Satania Life Carriers had projected a sodium chloride pattern of life; therefore no steps could be taken toward planting it until the ocean waters had become sufficiently briny. The Urantia type of protoplasm can function only in a suitable salt solution. All ancestral life -- vegetable and animal -- evolved in a salt-solution habitat. And even the more highly organized land animals could not continue to live did not this same essential salt solution circulate throughout their bodies in the blood stream which freely bathes, literally submerses, every tiny living cell in this "briny deep."
58:1.4 Your primitive ancestors freely circulated about in the salty ocean; today, this same oceanlike salty solution freely circulates about in your bodies, bathing each individual cell with a chemical liquid in all essentials comparable to the salt water which stimulated the first protoplasmic reactions of the first living cells to function on the planet.
58:1.5 But as this era opens, Urantia is in every way evolving toward a state favorable for the support of the initial forms of marine life. Slowly but surely physical developments on earth and in adjacent space regions are preparing the stage for the later attempts to establish such life forms as we had decided would be best adapted to the unfolding physical environment -- both terrestrial and spatial.
58:1.6 Subsequently the Satania commission of Life Carriers returned to Jerusem, preferring to await the further breakup of the continental land mass, which would afford still more inland seas and sheltered bays, before actually beginning life implantation.
58:1.7 On a planet where life has a marine origin the ideal conditions for life implantation are provided by a large number of inland seas, by an extensive shore line of shallow waters and sheltered bays; and just such a distribution of the earth's waters was rapidly developing. These ancient inland seas were seldom over five or six hundred feet deep, and sunlight can penetrate ocean water for more than six hundred feet.
58:1.8 And it was from such seashores of the mild and equable climes of a later age that primitive plant life found its way onto the land. There the high degree of carbon in the atmosphere afforded the new land varieties of life opportunity for speedy and luxuriant growth. Though this atmosphere was then ideal for plant growth, it contained such a high degree of carbon dioxide that no animal, much less man, could have lived on the face of the earth.
2. THE URANTIA ATMOSPHERE
58:2.1 The planetary atmosphere filters through to the earth about one two-billionths of the sun's total light emanation. If the light falling upon North America were paid for at the rate of two cents per kilowatt-hour, the annual light bill would be upward of 800 quadrillion dollars. Chicago's bill for sunshine would amount to considerably over 100 million dollars a day. And it should be remembered that you receive from the sun other forms of energy -- light is not the only solar contribution reaching your atmosphere. Vast solar energies pour in upon Urantia embracing wave lengths ranging both above and below the recognition range of human vision.
58:2.2 The earth's atmosphere is all but opaque to much of the solar radiation at the extreme ultraviolet end of the spectrum. Most of these short wave lengths are absorbed by a layer of ozone which exists throughout a level about ten miles above the surface of the earth, and which extends spaceward for another ten miles. The ozone permeating this region, at conditions prevailing on the earth's surface, would make a layer only one tenth of an inch thick; nevertheless, this relatively small and apparently insignificant amount of ozone protects Urantia inhabitants from the excess of these dangerous and destructive ultraviolet radiations present in sunlight. But were this ozone layer just a trifle thicker, you would be deprived of the highly important and health-giving ultraviolet rays which now reach the earth's surface, and which are ancestral to one of the most essential of your vitamins.
58:2.3 And yet some of the less imaginative of your mortal mechanists insist on viewing material creation and human evolution as an accident. The Urantia midwayers have assembled over fifty thousand facts of physics and chemistry which they deem to be incompatible with the laws of accidental chance, and which they contend unmistakably demonstrate the presence of intelligent purpose in the material creation. And all of this takes no account of their catalogue of more than one hundred thousand findings outside the domain of physics and chemistry which they maintain prove the presence of mind in the planning, creation, and maintenance of the material cosmos.
58:2.4 Your sun pours forth a veritable flood of death-dealing rays, and your pleasant life on Urantia is due to the "fortuitous" influence of more than two-score apparently accidental protective operations similar to the action of this unique ozone layer.
58:2.5 Were it not for the "blanketing" effect of the atmosphere at night, heat would be lost by radiation so rapidly that life would be impossible of maintenance except by artificial provision.
58:2.6 The lower five or six miles of the earth's atmosphere is the troposphere; this is the region of winds and air currents which provide weather phenomena. Above this region is the inner ionosphere and next above is the stratosphere. Ascending from the surface of the earth, the temperature steadily falls for six or eight miles, at which height it registers around 70 degrees below zero F. This temperature range of from 65 to 70 degrees below zero F. is unchanged in the further ascent for forty miles; this realm of constant temperature is the stratosphere. At a height of forty-five or fifty miles, the temperature begins to rise, and this increase continues until, at the level of the auroral displays, a temperature of 1200° F. is attained, and it is this intense heat that ionizes the oxygen. But temperature in such a rarefied atmosphere is hardly comparable with heat reckoning at the surface of the earth. Bear in mind that one half of all your atmosphere is to be found in the first three miles. The height of the earth's atmosphere is indicated by the highest auroral streamers -- about four hundred miles.
58:2.7 Auroral phenomena are directly related to sunspots, those solar cyclones which whirl in opposite directions above and below the solar equator, even as do the terrestrial tropical hurricanes. Such atmospheric disturbances whirl in opposite directions when occurring above or below the equator.
58:2.8 The power of sunspots to alter light frequencies shows that these solar storm centers function as enormous magnets. Such magnetic fields are able to hurl charged particles from the sunspot craters out through space to the earth's outer atmosphere, where their ionizing influence produces such spectacular auroral displays. Therefore do you have the greatest auroral phenomena when sunspots are at their height -- or soon thereafter -- at which time the spots are more generally equatorially situated.
58:2.9 Even the compass needle is responsive to this solar influence since it turns slightly to the east as the sun rises and slightly to the west as the sun nears setting. This happens every day, but during the height of sunspot cycles this variation of the compass is twice as great. These diurnal wanderings of the compass are in response to the increased ionization of the upper atmosphere, which is produced by the sunlight.
58:2.10 It is the presence of two different levels of electrified conducting regions in the superstratosphere that accounts for the long-distance transmission of your long- and short-wave radiobroadcasts. Your broadcasting is sometimes disturbed by the terrific storms which occasionally rage in the realms of these outer ionospheres.
3. SPATIAL ENVIRONMENT
58:3.1 During the earlier times of universe materialization the space regions are interspersed with vast hydrogen clouds, just such astronomic dust clusters as now characterize many regions throughout remote space. Much of the organized matter which the blazing suns break down and disperse as radiant energy was originally built up in these early appearing hydrogen clouds of space. Under certain unusual conditions atom disruption also occurs at the nucleus of the larger hydrogen masses. And all of these phenomena of atom building and atom dissolution, as in the highly heated nebulae, are attended by the emergence of flood tides of short space rays of radiant energy. Accompanying these diverse radiations is a form of space-energy unknown on Urantia.
58:3.2 This short-ray energy charge of universe space is four hundred times greater than all other forms of radiant energy existing in the organized space domains. The output of short space rays, whether coming from the blazing nebulae, tense electric fields, outer space, or the vast hydrogen dust clouds, is modified qualitatively and quantitatively by fluctuations of, and sudden tension changes in, temperature, gravity, and electronic pressures.
58:3.3 These eventualities in the origin of the space rays are determined by many cosmic occurrences as well as by the orbits of circulating matter, which vary from modified circles to extreme ellipses. Physical conditions may also be greatly altered because the electron spin is sometimes in the opposite direction from that of the grosser matter behavior, even in the same physical zone.
58:3.4 The vast hydrogen clouds are veritable cosmic chemical laboratories, harboring all phases of evolving energy and metamorphosing matter. Great energy actions also occur in the marginal gases of the great binary stars which so frequently overlap and hence extensively commingle. But none of these tremendous and far-flung energy activities of space exerts the least influence upon the phenomena of organized life -- the germ plasm of living things and beings. These energy conditions of space are germane to the essential environment of life establishment, but they are not effective in the subsequent modification of the inheritance factors of the germ plasm as are some of the longer rays of radiant energy. The implanted life of the Life Carriers is fully resistant to all of this amazing flood of the short space rays of universe energy.
58:3.5 All of these essential cosmic conditions had to evolve to a favorable status before the Life Carriers could actually begin the establishment of life on Urantia.
4. THE LIFE-DAWN ERA
58:4.1 That we are called Life Carriers should not confuse you. We can and do carry life to the planets, but we brought no life to Urantia. Urantia life is unique, original with the planet. This sphere is a life-modification world; all life appearing hereon was formulated by us right here on the planet; and there is no other world in all Satania, even in all Nebadon, that has a life existence just like that of Urantia.
58:4.2 550,000,000 years ago the Life Carrier corps returned to Urantia. In co-operation with spiritual powers and superphysical forces we organized and initiated the original life patterns of this world and planted them in the hospitable waters of the realm. All planetary life (aside from extraplanetary personalities) down to the days of Caligastia, the Planetary Prince, had its origin in our three original, identical, and simultaneous marine-life implantations. These three life implantations have been designated as: the central or Eurasian-African, the eastern or Australasian, and the western, embracing Greenland and the Americas.
58:4.3 500,000,000 years ago primitive marine vegetable life was well established on Urantia. Greenland and the arctic land mass, together with North and South America, were beginning their long and slow westward drift. Africa moved slightly south, creating an east and west trough, the Mediterranean basin, between itself and the mother body. Antarctica, Australia, and the land indicated by the islands of the Pacific broke away on the south and east and have drifted far away since that day.
58:4.4 We had planted the primitive form of marine life in the sheltered tropic bays of the central seas of the east-west cleavage of the breaking-up continental land mass. Our purpose in making three marine-life implantations was to insure that each great land mass would carry this life with it, in its warm-water seas, as the land subsequently separated. We foresaw that in the later era of the emergence of land life large oceans of water would separate these drifting continental land masses.
5. THE CONTINENTAL DRIFT
58:5.1 The continental land drift continued. The earth's core had become as dense and rigid as steel, being subjected to a pressure of almost 25,000 tons to the square inch, and owing to the enormous gravity pressure, it was and still is very hot in the deep interior. The temperature increases from the surface downward until at the center it is slightly above the surface temperature of the sun.
58:5.2 The outer one thousand miles of the earth's mass consists principally of different kinds of rock. Underneath are the denser and heavier metallic elements. Throughout the early and preatmospheric ages the world was so nearly fluid in its molten and highly heated state that the heavier metals sank deep into the interior. Those found near the surface today represent the exudate of ancient volcanoes, later and extensive lava flows, and the more recent meteoric deposits.
58:5.3 The outer crust was about forty miles thick. This outer shell was supported by, and rested directly upon, a molten sea of basalt of varying thickness, a mobile layer of molten lava held under high pressure but always tending to flow hither and yon in equalization of shifting planetary pressures, thereby tending to stabilize the earth's crust.
58:5.4 Even today the continents continue to float upon this noncrystallized cushiony sea of molten basalt. Were it not for this protective condition, the more severe earthquakes would literally shake the world to pieces. Earthquakes are caused by sliding and shifting of the solid outer crust and not by volcanoes.
58:5.5 The lava layers of the earth's crust, when cooled, form granite. The average density of Urantia is a little more than five and one-half times that of water; the density of granite is less than three times that of water. The earth's core is twelve times as dense as water.
58:5.6 The sea bottoms are more dense than the land masses, and this is what keeps the continents above water. When the sea bottoms are extruded above the sea level, they are found to consist largely of basalt, a form of lava considerably heavier than the granite of the land masses. Again, if the continents were not lighter than the ocean beds, gravity would draw the edges of the oceans up onto the land, but such phenomena are not observable.
58:5.7 The weight of the oceans is also a factor in the increase of pressure on the sea beds. The lower but comparatively heavier ocean beds, plus the weight of the overlying water, approximate the weight of the higher but much lighter continents. But all continents tend to creep into the oceans. The continental pressure at ocean-bottom levels is about 20,000 pounds to the square inch. That is, this would be the pressure of a continental mass standing 15,000 feet above the ocean floor. The ocean-floor water pressure is only about 5,000 pounds to the square inch. These differential pressures tend to cause the continents to slide toward the ocean beds.
58:5.8 Depression of the ocean bottom during the prelife ages had upthrust a solitary continental land mass to such a height that its lateral pressure tended to cause the eastern, western, and southern fringes to slide downhill, over the underlying semiviscous lava beds, into the waters of the surrounding Pacific Ocean. This so fully compensated the continental pressure that a wide break did not occur on the eastern shore of this ancient Asiatic continent, but ever since has that eastern coast line hovered over the precipice of its adjoining oceanic depths, threatening to slide into a watery grave.
6. THE TRANSITION PERIOD
58:6.1 450,000,000 years ago the transition from vegetable to animal life occurred. This metamorphosis took place in the shallow waters of the sheltered tropic bays and lagoons of the extensive shore lines of the separating continents. And this development, all of which was inherent in the original life patterns, came about gradually. There were many transitional stages between the early primitive vegetable forms of life and the later well-defined animal organisms. Even today the transition slime molds persist, and they can hardly be classified either as plants or as animals.
58:6.2 Although the evolution of vegetable life can be traced into animal life, and though there have been found graduated series of plants and animals which progressively lead up from the most simple to the most complex and advanced organisms, you will not be able to find such connecting links between the great divisions of the animal kingdom nor between the highest of the prehuman animal types and the dawn men of the human races. These so-called "missing links" will forever remain missing, for the simple reason that they never existed.
58:6.3 From era to era radically new species of animal life arise. They do not evolve as the result of the gradual accumulation of small variations; they appear as full-fledged and new orders of life, and they appear suddenly.
58:6.4 The sudden appearance of new species and diversified orders of living organisms is wholly biologic, strictly natural. There is nothing supernatural connected with these genetic mutations.
58:6.5 At the proper degree of saltiness in the oceans animal life evolved, and it was comparatively simple to allow the briny waters to circulate through the animal bodies of marine life. But when the oceans were contracted and the percentage of salt was greatly increased, these same animals evolved the ability to reduce the saltiness of their body fluids just as those organisms which learned to live in fresh water acquired the ability to maintain the proper degree of sodium chloride in their body fluids by ingenious techniques of salt conservation.
58:6.6 Study of the rock-embraced fossils of marine life reveals the early adjustment struggles of these primitive organisms. Plants and animals never cease to make these adjustment experiments. Ever the environment is changing, and always are living organisms striving to accommodate themselves to these never-ending fluctuations.
58:6.7 The physiologic equipment and the anatomic structure of all new orders of life are in response to the action of physical law, but the subsequent endowment of mind is a bestowal of the adjutant mind-spirits in accordance with innate brain capacity. Mind, while not a physical evolution, is wholly dependent on the brain capacity afforded by purely physical and evolutionary developments.
58:6.8 Through almost endless cycles of gains and losses, adjustments and readjustments, all living organisms swing back and forth from age to age. Those that attain cosmic unity persist, while those that fall short of this goal cease to exist.
7. THE GEOLOGIC HISTORY BOOK
58:7.1 The vast group of rock systems which constituted the outer crust of the world during the life-dawn or Proterozoic era does not now appear at many points on the earth's surface. And when it does emerge from below all the accumulations of subsequent ages, there will be found only the fossil remains of vegetable and early primitive animal life. Some of these older water-deposited rocks are commingled with subsequent layers, and sometimes they yield fossil remains of some of the earlier forms of vegetable life, while on the topmost layers occasionally may be found some of the more primitive forms of the early marine-animal organisms. In many places these oldest stratified rock layers, bearing the fossils of the early marine life, both animal and vegetable, may be found directly on top of the older undifferentiated stone.
58:7.2 Fossils of this era yield algae, corallike plants, primitive Protozoa, and spongelike transition organisms. But the absence of such fossils in the early rock layers does not necessarily prove that living things were not elsewhere in existence at the time of their deposition. Life was sparse throughout these early times and only slowly made its way over the face of the earth.
58:7.3 The rocks of this olden age are now at the earth's surface, or very near the surface, over about one eighth of the present land area. The average thickness of this transition stone, the oldest stratified rock layers, is about one and one-half miles. At some points these ancient rock systems are as much as four miles thick, but many of the layers which have been ascribed to this era belong to later periods.
58:7.4 In North America this ancient and primitive fossil-bearing stone layer comes to the surface over the eastern, central, and northern regions of Canada. There is also an intermittent east-west ridge of this rock which extends from Pennsylvania and the ancient Adirondack Mountains on west through Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Other ridges run from Newfoundland to Alabama and from Alaska to Mexico.
58:7.5 The rocks of this era are exposed here and there all over the world, but none are so easy of interpretation as those about Lake Superior and in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, where these primitive fossil-bearing rocks, existing in several layers, testify to the upheavals and surface fluctuations of those faraway times.
58:7.6 This stone layer, the oldest fossil-bearing stratum in the crust of the earth, has been crumpled, folded, and grotesquely twisted as a result of the upheavals of earthquakes and the early volcanoes. The lava flows of this age brought much iron, copper, and lead up near the planetary surface.
58:7.7 There are few places on the earth where such activities are more graphically shown than in the St. Croix valley of Wisconsin. In this region there occurred one hundred and twenty-seven successive lava flows on land with succeeding water submergence and consequent rock deposition. Although much of the upper rock sedimentation and intermittent lava flow is absent today, and though the bottom of this system is buried deep in the earth, nevertheless, about sixty-five or seventy of these stratified records of past ages are now exposed to view.
58:7.8 In these early ages when much land was near sea level, there occurred many successive submergences and emergences. The earth's crust was just entering upon its later period of comparative stabilization. The undulations, rises and dips, of the earlier continental drift contributed to the frequency of the periodic submergence of the great land masses.
58:7.9 During these times of primitive marine life, extensive areas of the continental shores sank beneath the seas from a few feet to half a mile. Much of the older sandstone and conglomerates represents the sedimentary accumulations of these ancient shores. The sedimentary rocks belonging to this early stratification rest directly upon those layers which date back far beyond the origin of life, back to the early appearance of the world-wide ocean.
58:7.10 Some of the upper layers of these transition rock deposits contain small amounts of shale or slate of dark colors, indicating the presence of organic carbon and testifying to the existence of the ancestors of those forms of plant life which overran the earth during the succeeding Carboniferous or coal age. Much of the copper in these rock layers results from water deposition. Some is found in the cracks of the older rocks and is the concentrate of the sluggish swamp water of some ancient sheltered shore line. The iron mines of North America and Europe are located in deposits and extrusions lying partly in the older unstratified rocks and partly in these later stratified rocks of the transition periods of life formation.
58:7.11 This era witnesses the spread of life throughout the waters of the world; marine life has become well established on Urantia. The bottoms of the shallow and extensive inland seas are being gradually overrun by a profuse and luxuriant growth of vegetation, while the shore-line waters are swarming with the simple forms of animal life.
58:7.12 All of this story is graphically told within the fossil pages of the vast "stone book" of world record. And the pages of this gigantic biogeologic record unfailingly tell the truth if you but acquire skill in their interpretation. Many of these ancient sea beds are now elevated high upon land, and their deposits of age upon age tell the story of the life struggles of those early days. It is literally true, as your poet has said, "The dust we tread upon was once alive."
58:7.13 Presented by a member of the Urantia Life Carrier Corps now resident on the planet.
Urantia Book Paper 59 Page 672
59:0.1 WE RECKON the history of Urantia as beginning about one billion years ago and extending through five major eras:
59:0.2 1. The prelife era extends over the initial four hundred and fifty million years, from about the time the planet attained its present size to the time of life establishment. Your students have designated this period as the Archeozoic.
59:0.3 2. The life-dawn era extends over the next one hundred and fifty million years. This epoch intervenes between the preceding prelife or cataclysmic age and the following period of more highly developed marine life. This era is known to your researchers as the Proterozoic.
59:0.4 3. The marine-life era covers the next two hundred and fifty million years and is best known to you as the Paleozoic.
59:0.5 4. The early land-life era extends over the next one hundred million years and is known as the Mesozoic.
59:0.6 5. The mammalian era occupies the last fifty million years. This recent-times era is known as the Cenozoic.
59:0.7 The marine-life era thus covers about one quarter of your planetary history. It may be subdivided into six long periods, each characterized by certain well-defined developments in both the geologic realms and the biologic domains.
59:0.8 As this era begins, the sea bottoms, the extensive continental shelves, and the numerous shallow near-shore basins are covered with prolific vegetation. The more simple and primitive forms of animal life have already developed from preceding vegetable organisms, and the early animal organisms have gradually made their way along the extensive coast lines of the various land masses until the many inland seas are teeming with primitive marine life. Since so few of these early organisms had shells, not many have been preserved as fossils. Nevertheless the stage is set for the opening chapters of that great "stone book" of the life-record preservation which was so methodically laid down during the succeeding ages.
59:0.9 The continent of North America is wonderfully rich in the fossil-bearing deposits of the entire marine-life era. The very first and oldest layers are separated from the later strata of the preceding period by extensive erosion deposits which clearly segregate these two stages of planetary development.
1. EARLY MARINE LIFE IN THE SHALLOW SEAS
THE TRILOBITE AGE
59:1.1 By the dawn of this period of relative quiet on the earth's surface, life is confined to the various inland seas and the oceanic shore line; as yet no form of land organism has evolved. Primitive marine animals are well established and are prepared for the next evolutionary development. Ameba are typical survivors of this initial stage of animal life, having made their appearance toward the close of the preceding transition period.
59:1.2 400,000,000 years ago marine life, both vegetable and animal, is fairly well distributed over the whole world. The world climate grows slightly warmer and becomes more equable. There is a general inundation of the seashores of the various continents, particularly of North and South America. New oceans appear, and the older bodies of water are greatly enlarged.
59:1.3 Vegetation now for the first time crawls out upon the land and soon makes considerable progress in adaptation to a nonmarine habitat.
59:1.4 Suddenly and without gradation ancestry the first multicellular animals make their appearance. The trilobites have evolved, and for ages they dominate the seas. From the standpoint of marine life this is the trilobite age.
59:1.5 In the later portion of this time segment much of North America and Europe emerged from the sea. The crust of the earth was temporarily stabilized; mountains, or rather high elevations of land, rose along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, over the West Indies, and in southern Europe. The entire Caribbean region was highly elevated.
59:1.6 390,000,000 years ago the land was still elevated. Over parts of eastern and western America and western Europe may be found the stone strata laid down during these times, and these are the oldest rocks which contain trilobite fossils. There were many long fingerlike gulfs projecting into the land masses in which were deposited these fossil-bearing rocks.
59:1.7 Within a few million years the Pacific Ocean began to invade the American continents. The sinking of the land was principally due to crustal adjustment, although the lateral land spread, or continental creep, was also a factor.
59:1.8 380,000,000 years ago Asia was subsiding, and all other continents were experiencing a short-lived emergence. But as this epoch progressed, the newly appearing Atlantic Ocean made extensive inroads on all adjacent coast lines. The northern Atlantic or Arctic seas were then connected with the southern Gulf waters. When this southern sea entered the Appalachian trough, its waves broke upon the east against mountains as high as the Alps, but in general the continents were uninteresting lowlands, utterly devoid of scenic beauty.
59:1.9 The sedimentary deposits of these ages are of four sorts:
1. Conglomerates -- matter deposited near the shore lines.
2. Sandstones -- deposits made in shallow water but where the waves were sufficient to prevent mud settling.
3. Shales -- deposits made in the deeper and more quiet water.
4. Limestone -- including the deposits of trilobite shells in deep water.
59:1.10 The trilobite fossils of these times present certain basic uniformities coupled with certain well-marked variations. The early animals developing from the three original life implantations were characteristic; those appearing in the Western Hemisphere were slightly different from those of the Eurasian group and from the Australasian or Australian-Antarctic type.
59:1.11 370,000,000 years ago the great and almost total submergence of North and South America occurred, followed by the sinking of Africa and Australia. Only certain parts of North America remained above these shallow Cambrian seas. Five million years later the seas were retreating before the rising land. And all of these phenomena of land sinking and land rising were undramatic, taking place slowly over millions of years.
59:1.12 The trilobite fossil-bearing strata of this epoch outcrop here and there throughout all the continents except in central Asia. In many regions these rocks are horizontal, but in the mountains they are tilted and distorted because of pressure and folding. And such pressure has, in many places, changed the original character of these deposits. Sandstone has been turned into quartz, shale has been changed to slate, while limestone has been converted into marble.
59:1.13 360,000,000 years ago the land was still rising. North and South America were well up. Western Europe and the British Isles were emerging, except parts of Wales, which were deeply submerged. There were no great ice sheets during these ages. The supposed glacial deposits appearing in connection with these strata in Europe, Africa, China, and Australia are due to isolated mountain glaciers or to the displacement of glacial debris of later origin. The world climate was oceanic, not continental. The southern seas were warmer then than now, and they extended northward over North America up to the polar regions. The Gulf Stream coursed over the central portion of North America, being deflected eastward to bathe and warm the shores of Greenland, making that now ice-mantled continent a veritable tropic Paradise.
59:1.14 The marine life was much alike the world over and consisted of the seaweeds, one-celled organisms, simple sponges, trilobites, and other crustaceans -- shrimps, crabs, and lobsters. Three thousand varieties of brachiopods appeared at the close of this period, only two hundred of which have survived. These animals represent a variety of early life which has come down to the present time practically unchanged.
59:1.15 But the trilobites were the dominant living creatures. They were sexed animals and existed in many forms; being poor swimmers, they sluggishly floated in the water or crawled along the sea bottoms, curling up in self-protection when attacked by their later appearing enemies. They grew in length from two inches to one foot and developed into four distinct groups: carnivorous, herbivorous, omnivorous, and "mud eaters." The ability of the latter group largely to subsist on inorganic matter -- being the last multicelled animal that could -- explains their great increase and long survival.
59:1.16 This was the biogeologic picture of Urantia at the end of that long period of the world's history, embracing fifty million years, designated by your geologists as the Cambrian.
2. THE FIRST CONTINENTAL FLOOD STAGE
THE INVERTEBRATE-ANIMAL AGE
59:2.1 The periodic phenomena of land elevation and land sinking characteristic of these times were all gradual and nonspectacular, being accompanied by little or no volcanic action. Throughout all of these successive land elevations and depressions the Asiatic mother continent did not fully share the history of the other land bodies. It experienced many inundations, dipping first in one direction and then another, more particularly in its earlier history, but it does not present the uniform rock deposits which may be discovered on the other continents. In recent ages Asia has been the most stable of all the land masses.
59:2.2 350,000,000 years ago saw the beginning of the great flood period of all the continents except central Asia. The land masses were repeatedly covered with water; only the coastal highlands remained above these shallow but widespread oscillatory inland seas. Three major inundations characterized this period, but before it ended, the continents again arose, the total land emergence being fifteen per cent greater than now exists. The Caribbean region was highly elevated. This period is not well marked off in Europe because the land fluctuations were less, while the volcanic action was more persistent.
59:2.3 340,000,000 years ago there occurred another extensive land sinking except in Asia and Australia. The waters of the world's oceans were generally commingled. This was a great limestone age, much of its stone being laid down by lime-secreting algae.
59:2.4 A few million years later large portions of the American continents and Europe began to emerge from the water. In the Western Hemisphere only an arm of the Pacific Ocean remained over Mexico and the present Rocky Mountain regions, but near the close of this epoch the Atlantic and Pacific coasts again began to sink.
59:2.5 330,000,000 years ago marks the beginning of a time sector of comparative quiet all over the world, with much land again above water. The only exception to this reign of terrestrial quiet was the eruption of the great North American volcano of eastern Kentucky, one of the greatest single volcanic activities the world has ever known. The ashes of this volcano covered five hundred square miles to a depth of from fifteen to twenty feet.
59:2.6 320,000,000 years ago the third major flood of this period occurred. The waters of this inundation covered all the land submerged by the preceding deluge, while extending farther in many directions all over the Americas and Europe. Eastern North America and western Europe were from 10,000 to 15,000 feet under water.
59:2.7 310,000,000 years ago the land masses of the world were again well up excepting the southern parts of North America. Mexico emerged, thus creating the Gulf Sea, which has ever since maintained its identity.
59:2.8 The life of this period continues to evolve. The world is once again quiet and relatively peaceful; the climate remains mild and equable; the land plants are migrating farther and farther from the seashores. The life patterns are well developed, although few plant fossils of these times are to be found.
59:2.9 This was the great age of individual animal organismal evolution, though many of the basic changes, such as the transition from plant to animal, had previously occurred. The marine fauna developed to the point where every type of life below the vertebrate scale was represented in the fossils of those rocks which were laid down during these times. But all of these animals were marine organisms. No land animals had yet appeared except a few types of worms which burrowed along the seashores, nor had the land plants yet overspread the continents; there was still too much carbon dioxide in the air to permit of the existence of air breathers. Primarily, all animals except certain of the more primitive ones are directly or indirectly dependent on plant life for their existence.
59:2.10 The trilobites were still prominent. These little animals existed in tens of thousands of patterns and were the predecessors of modern crustaceans. Some of the trilobites had from twenty-five to four thousand tiny eyelets; others had aborted eyes. As this period closed, the trilobites shared domination of the seas with several other forms of invertebrate life. But they utterly perished during the beginning of the next period.
59:2.11 Lime-secreting algae were widespread. There existed thousands of species of the early ancestors of the corals. Sea worms were abundant, and there were many varieties of jellyfish which have since become extinct. Corals and the later types of sponges evolved. The cephalopods were well developed, and they have survived as the modern pearly nautilus, octopus, cuttlefish, and squid.
59:2.12 There were many varieties of shell animals, but their shells were not then so much needed for defensive purposes as in subsequent ages. The gastropods were present in the waters of the ancient seas, and they included single-shelled drills, periwinkles, and snails. The bivalve gastropods have come on down through the intervening millions of years much as they then existed and embrace the muscles, clams, oysters, and scallops. The valve-shelled organisms also evolved, and these brachiopods lived in those ancient waters much as they exist today; they even had hinged, notched, and other sorts of protective arrangements of their valves.
59:2.13 So ends the evolutionary story of the second great period of marine life, which is known to your geologists as the Ordovician.
3. THE SECOND GREAT FLOOD STAGE
THE CORAL PERIOD -- THE BRACHIOPOD AGE
59:3.1 300,000,000 years ago another great period of land submergence began. The southward and northward encroachment of the ancient Silurian seas made ready to engulf most of Europe and North America. The land was not elevated far above the sea so that not much deposition occurred about the shore lines. The seas teemed with lime-shelled life, and the falling of these shells to the sea bottom gradually built up very thick layers of limestone. This is the first widespread limestone deposit, and it covers practically all of Europe and North America but only appears at the earth's surface in a few places. The thickness of this ancient rock layer averages about one thousand feet, but many of these deposits have since been greatly deformed by tilting, upheavals, and faulting, and many have been changed to quartz, shale, and marble.
59:3.2 No fire rocks or lava are found in the stone layers of this period except those of the great volcanoes of southern Europe and eastern Maine and the lava flows of Quebec. Volcanic action was largely past. This was the height of great water deposition; there was little or no mountain building.
59:3.3 290,000,000 years ago the sea had largely withdrawn from the continents, and the bottoms of the surrounding oceans were sinking. The land masses were little changed until they were again submerged. The early mountain movements of all the continents were beginning, and the greatest of these crustal upheavals were the Himalayas of Asia and the great Caledonian Mountains, extending from Ireland through Scotland and on to Spitzbergen.
59:3.4 It is in the deposits of this age that much of the gas, oil, zinc, and lead are found, the gas and oil being derived from the enormous collections of vegetable and animal matter carried down at the time of the previous land submergence, while the mineral deposits represent the sedimentation of sluggish bodies of water. Many of the rock salt deposits belong to this period.
59:3.5 The trilobites rapidly declined, and the center of the stage was occupied by the larger mollusks, or cephalopods. These animals grew to be fifteen feet long and one foot in diameter and became masters of the seas. This species of animal appeared suddenly and assumed dominance of sea life.
59:3.6 The great volcanic activity of this age was in the European sector. Not in millions upon millions of years had such violent and extensive volcanic eruptions occurred as now took place around the Mediterranean trough and especially in the neighborhood of the British Isles. This lava flow over the British Isles region today appears as alternate layers of lava and rock 25,000 feet thick. These rocks were laid down by the intermittent lava flows which spread out over a shallow sea bed, thus interspersing the rock deposits, and all of this was subsequently elevated high above the sea. Violent earthquakes took place in northern Europe, notably in Scotland.
59:3.7 The oceanic climate remained mild and uniform, and the warm seas bathed the shores of the polar lands. Brachiopod and other marine-life fossils may be found in these deposits right up to the North Pole. Gastropods, brachiopods, sponges, and reef-making corals continued to increase.
59:3.8 The close of this epoch witnesses the second advance of the Silurian seas with another commingling of the waters of the southern and northern oceans. The cephalopods dominate marine life, while associated forms of life progressively develop and differentiate.
59:3.9 280,000,000 years ago the continents had largely emerged from the second Silurian inundation. The rock deposits of this submergence are known in North America as Niagara limestone because this is the stratum of rock over which Niagara Falls now flows. This layer of rock extends from the eastern mountains to the Mississippi valley region but not farther west except to the south. Several layers extend over Canada, portions of South America, Australia, and most of Europe, the average thickness of this Niagara series being about six hundred feet. Immediately overlying the Niagara deposit, in many regions may be found a collection of conglomerate, shale, and rock salt. This is the accumulation of secondary subsidences. This salt settled in great lagoons which were alternately opened up to the sea and then cut off so that evaporation occurred with deposition of salt along with other matter held in solution. In some regions these rock salt beds are seventy feet thick.
59:3.10 The climate is even and mild, and marine fossils are laid down in the arctic regions. But by the end of this epoch the seas are so excessively salty that little life survives.
59:3.11 Toward the close of the final Silurian submergence there is a great increase in the echinoderms -- the stone lilies -- as is evidenced by the crinoid limestone deposits. The trilobites have nearly disappeared, and the mollusks continue monarchs of the seas; coral-reef formation increases greatly. During this age, in the more favorable locations the primitive water scorpions first evolve. Soon thereafter, and suddenly, the true scorpions -- actual air breathers -- make their appearance.
59:3.12 These developments terminate the third marine-life period, covering twenty-five million years and known to your researchers as the Silurian.
4. THE GREAT LAND-EMERGENCE STAGE
THE VEGETATIVE LAND-LIFE PERIOD
THE AGE OF FISHES
59:4.1 In the agelong struggle between land and water, for long periods the sea has been comparatively victorious, but times of land victory are just ahead. And the continental drifts have not proceeded so far but that, at times, practically all of the land of the world is connected by slender isthmuses and narrow land bridges.
59:4.2 As the land emerges from the last Silurian inundation, an important period in world development and life evolution comes to an end. It is the dawn of a new age on earth. The naked and unattractive landscape of former times is becoming clothed with luxuriant verdure, and the first magnificent forests will soon appear.
59:4.3 The marine life of this age was very diverse due to the early species segregation, but later on there was free commingling and association of all these different types. The brachiopods early reached their climax, being succeeded by the arthropods, and barnacles made their first appearance. But the greatest event of all was the sudden appearance of the fish family. This became the age of fishes, that period of the world's history characterized by the vertebrate type of animal.
59:4.4 270,000,000 years ago the continents were all above water. In millions upon millions of years not so much land had been above water at one time; it was one of the greatest land-emergence epochs in all world history.
59:4.5 Five million years later the land areas of North and South America, Europe, Africa, northern Asia, and Australia were briefly inundated, in North America the submergence at one time or another being almost complete; and the resulting limestone layers run from 500 to 5,000 feet in thickness. These various Devonian seas extended first in one direction and then in another so that the immense arctic North American inland sea found an outlet to the Pacific Ocean through northern California.
59:4.6 260,000,000 years ago, toward the end of this land-depression epoch, North America was partially overspread by seas having simultaneous connection with the Pacific, Atlantic, Arctic, and Gulf waters. The deposits of these later stages of the first Devonian flood average about one thousand feet in thickness. The coral reefs characterizing these times indicate that the inland seas were clear and shallow. Such coral deposits are exposed in the banks of the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky, and are about one hundred feet thick, embracing more than two hundred varieties. These coral formations extend through Canada and northern Europe to the arctic regions.
59:4.7 Following these submergences, many of the shore lines were considerably elevated so that the earlier deposits were covered by mud or shale. There is also a red sandstone stratum which characterizes one of the Devonian sedimentations, and this red layer extends over much of the earth's surface, being found in North and South America, Europe, Russia, China, Africa, and Australia. Such red deposits are suggestive of arid or semiarid conditions, but the climate of this epoch was still mild and even.
59:4.8 Throughout all of this period the land southeast of the Cincinnati Island remained well above water. But very much of western Europe, including the British Isles, was submerged. In Wales, Germany, and other places in Europe the Devonian rocks are 20,000 feet thick.
59:4.9 250,000,000 years ago witnessed the appearance of the fish family, the vertebrates, one of the most important steps in all prehuman evolution.
59:4.10 The arthropods, or crustaceans, were the ancestors of the first vertebrates. The forerunners of the fish family were two modified arthropod ancestors; one had a long body connecting a head and tail, while the other was a backboneless, jawless prefish. But these preliminary types were quickly destroyed when the fishes, the first vertebrates of the animal world, made their sudden appearance from the north.
59:4.11 Many of the largest true fish belong to this age, some of the teeth-bearing varieties being twenty-five to thirty feet long; the present-day sharks are the survivors of these ancient fishes. The lung and armored fishes reached their evolutionary apex, and before this epoch had ended, fishes had adapted to both fresh and salt waters.
59:4.12 Veritable bone beds of fish teeth and skeletons may be found in the deposits laid down toward the close of this period, and rich fossil beds are situated along the coast of California since many sheltered bays of the Pacific Ocean extended into the land of that region.
59:4.13 The earth was being rapidly overrun by the new orders of land vegetation. Heretofore few plants grew on land except about the water's edge. Now, and suddenly, the prolific fern family appeared and quickly spread over the face of the rapidly rising land in all parts of the world. Tree types, two feet thick and forty feet high, soon developed; later on, leaves evolved, but these early varieties had only rudimentary foliage. There were many smaller plants, but their fossils are not found since they were usually destroyed by the still earlier appearing bacteria.
59:4.14 As the land rose, North America became connected with Europe by land bridges extending to Greenland. And today Greenland holds the remains of these early land plants beneath its mantle of ice.
59:4.15 240,000,000 years ago the land over parts of both Europe and North and South America began to sink. This subsidence marked the appearance of the last and least extensive of the Devonian floods. The arctic seas again moved southward over much of North America, the Atlantic inundated a large part of Europe and western Asia, while the southern Pacific covered most of India. This inundation was slow in appearing and equally slow in retreating. The Catskill Mountains along the west bank of the Hudson River are one of the largest geologic monuments of this epoch to be found on the surface of North America.
59:4.16 230,000,000 years ago the seas were continuing their retreat. Much of North America was above water, and great volcanic activity occurred in the St. Lawrence region. Mount Royal, at Montreal, is the eroded neck of one of these volcanoes. The deposits of this entire epoch are well shown in the Appalachian Mountains of North America where the Susquehanna River has cut a valley exposing these successive layers, which attained a thickness of over 13,000 feet.
59:4.17 The elevation of the continents proceeded, and the atmosphere was becoming enriched with oxygen. The earth was overspread by vast forests of ferns one hundred feet high and by the peculiar trees of those days, silent forests; not a sound was heard, not even the rustle of a leaf, for such trees had no leaves.
59:4.18 And thus drew to a close one of the longest periods of marine-life evolution, the age of fishes. This period of the world's history lasted almost fifty million years; it has become known to your researchers as the Devonian.
5. THE CRUSTAL-SHIFTING STAGE
THE FERN-FOREST CARBONIFEROUS PERIOD
THE AGE OF FROGS
59:5.1 The appearance of fish during the preceding period marks the apex of marine-life evolution. From this point onward the evolution of land life becomes increasingly important. And this period opens with the stage almost ideally set for the appearance of the first land animals.
59:5.2 220,000,000 years ago many of the continental land areas, including most of North America, were above water. The land was overrun by luxurious vegetation; this was indeed the age of ferns. Carbon dioxide was still present in the atmosphere but in lessening degree.
59:5.3 Shortly thereafter the central portion of North America was inundated, creating two great inland seas. Both the Atlantic and Pacific coastal highlands were situated just beyond the present shore lines. These two seas presently united, commingling their different forms of life, and the union of these marine fauna marked the beginning of the rapid and world-wide decline in marine life and the opening of the subsequent land-life period.
59:5.4 210,000,000 years ago the warm-water arctic seas covered most of North America and Europe. The south polar waters inundated South America and Australia, while both Africa and Asia were highly elevated.
59:5.5 When the seas were at their height, a new evolutionary development suddenly occurred. Abruptly, the first of the land animals appeared. There were numerous species of these animals that were able to live on land or in water. These air-breathing amphibians developed from the arthropods, whose swim bladders had evolved into lungs.
59:5.6 From the briny waters of the seas there crawled out upon the land snails, scorpions, and frogs. Today frogs still lay their eggs in water, and their young first exist as little fishes, tadpoles. This period could well be known as the age of frogs.
59:5.7 Very soon thereafter the insects first appeared and, together with spiders, scorpions, cockroaches, crickets, and locusts, soon overspread the continents of the world. Dragon flies measured thirty inches across. One thousand species of cockroaches developed, and some grew to be four inches long.
59:5.8 Two groups of echinoderms became especially well developed, and they are in reality the guide fossils of this epoch. The large shell-feeding sharks were also highly evolved, and for more than five million years they dominated the oceans. The climate was still mild and equable; the marine life was little changed. Fresh-water fish were developing and the trilobites were nearing extinction. Corals were scarce, and much of the limestone was being made by the crinoids. The finer building limestones were laid down during this epoch.
59:5.9 The waters of many of the inland seas were so heavily charged with lime and other minerals as greatly to interfere with the progress and development of many marine species. Eventually the seas cleared up as the result of an extensive stone deposit, in some places containing zinc and lead.
59:5.10 The deposits of this early Carboniferous age are from 500 to 2,000 feet thick, consisting of sandstone, shale, and limestone. The oldest strata yield the fossils of both land and marine animals and plants, along with much gravel and basin sediments. Little workable coal is found in these older strata. These depositions throughout Europe are very similar to those laid down over North America.
59:5.11 Toward the close of this epoch the land of North America began to rise. There was a short interruption, and the sea returned to cover about half of its previous beds. This was a short inundation, and most of the land was soon well above water. South America was still connected with Europe by way of Africa.
59:5.12 This epoch witnessed the beginning of the Vosges, Black Forest, and Ural mountains. Stumps of other and older mountains are to be found all over Great Britain and Europe.
59:5.13 200,000,000 years ago the really active stages of the Carboniferous period began. For twenty million years prior to this time the earlier coal deposits were being laid down, but now the more extensive coal-formation activities were in process. The length of the actual coal-deposition epoch was a little over twenty-five million years.
59:5.14 The land was periodically going up and down due to the shifting sea level occasioned by activities on the ocean bottoms. This crustal uneasiness -- the settling and rising of the land -- in connection with the prolific vegetation of the coastal swamps, contributed to the production of extensive coal deposits, which have caused this period to be known as the Carboniferous. And the climate was still mild the world over.
59:5.15 The coal layers alternate with shale, stone, and conglomerate. These coal beds over central and eastern United States vary in thickness from forty to fifty feet. But many of these deposits were washed away during subsequent land elevations. In some parts of North America and Europe the coal-bearing strata are 18,000 feet in thickness.
59:5.16 The presence of roots of trees as they grew in the clay underlying the present coal beds demonstrates that coal was formed exactly where it is now found. Coal is the water-preserved and pressure-modified remains of the rank vegetation growing in the bogs and on the swamp shores of this faraway age. Coal layers often hold both gas and oil. Peat beds, the remains of past vegetable growth, would be converted into a type of coal if subjected to proper pressure and heat. Anthracite has been subjected to more pressure and heat than other coal.
59:5.17 In North America the layers of coal in the various beds, which indicate the number of times the land fell and rose, vary from ten in Illinois, twenty in Pennsylvania, thirty-five in Alabama, to seventy-five in Canada. Both fresh- and salt-water fossils are found in the coal beds.
59:5.18 Throughout this epoch the mountains of North and South America were active, both the Andes and the southern ancestral Rocky Mountains rising. The great Atlantic and Pacific high coastal regions began to sink, eventually becoming so eroded and submerged that the coast lines of both oceans withdrew to approximately their present positions. The deposits of this inundation average about one thousand feet in thickness.
59:5.19 190,000,000 years ago witnessed a westward extension of the North American Carboniferous sea over the present Rocky Mountain region, with an outlet to the Pacific Ocean through northern California. Coal continued to be laid down throughout the Americas and Europe, layer upon layer, as the coastlands rose and fell during these ages of seashore oscillations.
59:5.20 180,000,000 years ago brought the close of the Carboniferous period, during which coal had been formed all over the world -- in Europe, India, China, North Africa, and the Americas. At the close of the coal-formation period North America east of the Mississippi valley rose, and most of this section has ever since remained above the sea. This land-elevation period marks the beginning of the modern mountains of North America, both in the Appalachian regions and in the west. Volcanoes were active in Alaska and California and in the mountain-forming regions of Europe and Asia. Eastern America and western Europe were connected by the continent of Greenland.
59:5.21 Land elevation began to modify the marine climate of the preceding ages and to substitute therefor the beginnings of the less mild and more variable continental climate.
59:5.22 The plants of these times were spore bearing, and the wind was able to spread them far and wide. The trunks of the Carboniferous trees were commonly seven feet in diameter and often one hundred and twenty-five feet high. The modern ferns are truly relics of these bygone ages.
59:5.23 In general, these were the epochs of development for fresh-water organisms; little change occurred in the previous marine life. But the important characteristic of this period was the sudden appearance of the frogs and their many cousins. The life features of the coal age were ferns and frogs.
6. THE CLIMATIC TRANSITION STAGE
THE SEED-PLANT PERIOD
THE AGE OF BIOLOGIC TRIBULATION
59:6.1 This period marks the end of pivotal evolutionary development in marine life and the opening of the transition period leading to the subsequent ages of land animals.
59:6.2 This age was one of great life impoverishment. Thousands of marine species perished, and life was hardly yet established on land. This was a time of biologic tribulation, the age when life nearly vanished from the face of the earth and from the depths of the oceans. Toward the close of the long marine-life era there were more than one hundred thousand species of living things on earth. At the close of this period of transition less than five hundred had survived.
59:6.3 The peculiarities of this new period were not due so much to the cooling of the earth's crust or to the long absence of volcanic action as to an unusual combination of commonplace and pre-existing influences -- restrictions of the seas and increasing elevation of enormous land masses. The mild marine climate of former times was disappearing, and the harsher continental type of weather was fast developing.
59:6.4 170,000,000 years ago great evolutionary changes and adjustments were taking place over the entire face of the earth. Land was rising all over the world as the ocean beds were sinking. Isolated mountain ridges appeared. The eastern part of North America was high above the sea; the west was slowly rising. The continents were covered by great and small salt lakes and numerous inland seas which were connected with the oceans by narrow straits. The strata of this transition period vary in thickness from 1,000 to 7,000 feet.
59:6.5 The earth's crust folded extensively during these land elevations. This was a time of continental emergence except for the disappearance of certain land bridges, including the continents which had so long connected South America with Africa and North America with Europe.
59:6.6 Gradually the inland lakes and seas were drying up all over the world. Isolated mountain and regional glaciers began to appear, especially over the Southern Hemisphere, and in many regions the glacial deposit of these local ice formations may be found even among some of the upper and later coal deposits. Two new climatic factors appeared -- glaciation and aridity. Many of the earth's higher regions had become arid and barren.
59:6.7 Throughout these times of climatic change, great variations also occurred in the land plants. The seed plants first appeared, and they afforded a better food supply for the subsequently increased land-animal life. The insects underwent a radical change. The resting stages evolved to meet the demands of suspended animation during winter and drought.
59:6.8 Among the land animals the frogs reached their climax in the preceding age and rapidly declined, but they survived because they could long live even in the drying-up pools and ponds of these far-distant and extremely trying times. During this declining frog age, in Africa, the first step in the evolution of the frog into the reptile occurred. And since the land masses were still connected, this prereptilian creature, an air breather, spread over all the world. By this time the atmosphere had been so changed that it served admirably to support animal respiration. It was soon after the arrival of these prereptilian frogs that North America was temporarily isolated, cut off from Europe, Asia, and South America.
59:6.9 The gradual cooling of the ocean waters contributed much to the destruction of oceanic life. The marine animals of those ages took temporary refuge in three favorable retreats: the present Gulf of Mexico region, the Ganges Bay of India, and the Sicilian Bay of the Mediterranean basin. And it was from these three regions that the new marine species, born to adversity, later went forth to replenish the seas.
59:6.10 160,000,000 years ago the land was largely covered with vegetation adapted to support land-animal life, and the atmosphere had become ideal for animal respiration. Thus ends the period of marine-life curtailment and those testing times of biologic adversity which eliminated all forms of life except such as had survival value, and which were therefore entitled to function as the ancestors of the more rapidly developing and highly differentiated life of the ensuing ages of planetary evolution.
59:6.11 The ending of this period of biologic tribulation, known to your students as the Permian, also marks the end of the long Paleozoic era, which covers one quarter of the planetary history, two hundred and fifty million years.
59:6.12 The vast oceanic nursery of life on Urantia has served its purpose. During the long ages when the land was unsuited to support life, before the atmosphere contained sufficient oxygen to sustain the higher land animals, the sea mothered and nurtured the early life of the realm. Now the biologic importance of the sea progressively diminishes as the second stage of evolution begins to unfold on the land.
59:6.13 Presented by a Life Carrier of Nebadon, one of the original corps assigned to Urantia.
Urantia Book Paper 60 Page 685
60:0.1 THE era of exclusive marine life has ended. Land elevation, cooling crust and cooling oceans, sea restriction and consequent deepening, together with a great increase of land in northern latitudes, all conspired greatly to change the world's climate in all regions far removed from the equatorial zone.
60:0.2 The closing epochs of the preceding era were indeed the age of frogs, but these ancestors of the land vertebrates were no longer dominant, having survived in greatly reduced numbers. Very few types outlived the rigorous trials of the preceding period of biologic tribulation. Even the spore-bearing plants were nearly extinct.
1. THE EARLY REPTILIAN AGE
60:1.1 The erosion deposits of this period were mostly conglomerates, shale, and sandstone. The gypsum and red layers throughout these sedimentations over both America and Europe indicate that the climate of these continents was arid. These arid districts were subjected to great erosion from the violent and periodic cloudbursts on the surrounding highlands.
60:1.2 Few fossils are to be found in these layers, but numerous sandstone footprints of the land reptiles may be observed. In many regions the one thousand feet of red sandstone deposit of this period contains no fossils. The life of land animals was continuous only in certain parts of Africa.
60:1.3 These deposits vary in thickness from 3,000 to 10,000 feet, even being 18,000 on the Pacific coast. Lava was later forced in between many of these layers. The Palisades of the Hudson River were formed by the extrusion of basalt lava between these Triassic strata. Volcanic action was extensive in different parts of the world.
60:1.4 Over Europe, especially Germany and Russia, may be found deposits of this period. In England the New Red Sandstone belongs to this epoch. Limestone was laid down in the southern Alps as the result of a sea invasion and may now be seen as the peculiar dolomite limestone walls, peaks, and pillars of those regions. This layer is to be found all over Africa and Australia. The Carrara marble comes from such modified limestone. Nothing of this period will be found in the southern regions of South America as that part of the continent remained down and hence presents only a water or marine deposit continuous with the preceding and succeeding epochs.
60:1.5 150,000,000 years ago the early land-life periods of the world's history began. Life, in general, did not fare well but did better than at the strenuous and hostile close of the marine-life era.
60:1.6 As this era opens, the eastern and central parts of North America, the northern half of South America, most of Europe, and all of Asia are well above water. North America for the first time is geographically isolated, but not for long as the Bering Strait land bridge soon again emerges, connecting the continent with Asia.
60:1.7 Great troughs developed in North America, paralleling the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The great eastern-Connecticut fault appeared, one side eventually sinking two miles. Many of these North American troughs were later filled with erosion deposits, as also were many of the basins of the fresh- and salt-water lakes of the mountain regions. Later on, these filled land depressions were greatly elevated by lava flows which occurred underground. The petrified forests of many regions belong to this epoch.
60:1.8 The Pacific coast, usually above water during the continental submergences, went down excepting the southern part of California and a large island which then existed in what is now the Pacific Ocean. This ancient California sea was rich in marine life and extended eastward to connect with the old sea basin of the midwestern region.
60:1.9 140,000,000 years ago, suddenly and with only the hint of the two prereptilian ancestors that developed in Africa during the preceding epoch, the reptiles appeared in full-fledged form. They developed rapidly, soon yielding crocodiles, scaled reptiles, and eventually both sea serpents and flying reptiles. Their transition ancestors speedily disappeared.
60:1.10 These rapidly evolving reptilian dinosaurs soon became the monarchs of this age. They were egg layers and are distinguished from all animals by their small brains, having brains weighing less than one pound to control bodies later weighing as much as forty tons. But earlier reptiles were smaller, carnivorous, and walked kangaroolike on their hind legs. They had hollow avian bones and subsequently developed only three toes on their hind feet, and many of their fossil footprints have been mistaken for those of giant birds. Later on, the herbivorous dinosaurs evolved. They walked on all fours, and one branch of this group developed a protective armor.
60:1.11 Several million years later the first mammals appeared. They were nonplacental and proved a speedy failure; none survived. This was an experimental effort to improve mammalian types, but it did not succeed on Urantia.
60:1.12 The marine life of this period was meager but improved rapidly with the new invasion of the sea, which again produced extensive coast lines of shallow waters. Since there was more shallow water around Europe and Asia, the richest fossil beds are to be found about these continents. Today, if you would study the life of this age, examine the Himalayan, Siberian, and Mediterranean regions, as well as India and the islands of the southern Pacific basin. A prominent feature of the marine life was the presence of hosts of the beautiful ammonites, whose fossil remains are found all over the world.
60:1.13 130,000,000 years ago the seas had changed very little. Siberia and North America were connected by the Bering Strait land bridge. A rich and unique marine life appeared on the Californian Pacific coast, where over one thousand species of ammonites developed from the higher types of cephalopods. The life changes of this period were indeed revolutionary notwithstanding that they were transitional and gradual.
60:1.14 This period extended over twenty-five million years and is known as the Triassic.
2. THE LATER REPTILIAN AGE
60:2.1 120,000,000 years ago a new phase of the reptilian age began. The great event of this period was the evolution and decline of the dinosaurs. Land-animal life reached its greatest development, in point of size, and had virtually perished from the face of the earth by the end of this age. The dinosaurs evolved in all sizes from a species less than two feet long up to the huge noncarnivorous dinosaurs, seventy-five feet long, that have never since been equaled in bulk by any living creature.
60:2.2 The largest of the dinosaurs originated in western North America. These monstrous reptiles are buried throughout the Rocky Mountain regions, along the whole of the Atlantic coast of North America, over western Europe, South Africa, and India, but not in Australia.
60:2.3 These massive creatures became less active and strong as they grew larger and larger; but they required such an enormous amount of food and the land was so overrun by them that they literally starved to death and became extinct -- they lacked the intelligence to cope with the situation.
60:2.4 By this time most of the eastern part of North America, which had long been elevated, had been leveled down and washed into the Atlantic Ocean so that the coast extended several hundred miles farther out than now. The western part of the continent was still up, but even these regions were later invaded by both the northern sea and the Pacific, which extended eastward to the Dakota Black Hills region.
60:2.5 This was a fresh-water age characterized by many inland lakes, as is shown by the abundant fresh-water fossils of the so-called Morrison beds of Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming. The thickness of these combined salt- and fresh-water deposits varies from 2,000 to 5,000 feet; but very little limestone is present in these layers.
60:2.6 The same polar sea that extended so far down over North America likewise covered all of South America except the soon appearing Andes Mountains. Most of China and Russia was inundated, but the water invasion was greatest in Europe. It was during this submergence that the beautiful lithographic stone of southern Germany was laid down, those strata in which fossils, such as the most delicate wings of olden insects, are preserved as of but yesterday.
60:2.7 The flora of this age was much like that of the preceding. Ferns persisted, while conifers and pines became more and more like the present-day varieties. Some coal was still being formed along the northern Mediterranean shores.
60:2.8 The return of the seas improved the weather. Corals spread to European waters, testifying that the climate was still mild and even, but they never again appeared in the slowly cooling polar seas. The marine life of these times improved and developed greatly, especially in European waters. Both corals and crinoids temporarily appeared in larger numbers than heretofore, but the ammonites dominated the invertebrate life of the oceans, their average size ranging from three to four inches, though one species attained a diameter of eight feet. Sponges were everywhere, and both cuttlefish and oysters continued to evolve.
60:2.9 110,000,000 years ago the potentials of marine life were continuing to unfold. The sea urchin was one of the outstanding mutations of this epoch. Crabs, lobsters, and the modern types of crustaceans matured. Marked changes occurred in the fish family, a sturgeon type first appearing, but the ferocious sea serpents, descended from the land reptiles, still infested all the seas, and they threatened the destruction of the entire fish family.
60:2.10 This continued to be, pre-eminently, the age of the dinosaurs. They so overran the land that two species had taken to the water for sustenance during the preceding period of sea encroachment. These sea serpents represent a backward step in evolution. While some new species are progressing, certain strains remain stationary and others gravitate backward, reverting to a former state. And this is what happened when these two types of reptiles forsook the land.
60:2.11 As time passed, the sea serpents grew to such size that they became very sluggish and eventually perished because they did not have brains large enough to afford protection for their immense bodies. Their brains weighed less than two ounces notwithstanding the fact that these huge ichthyosaurs sometimes grew to be fifty feet long, the majority being over thirty-five feet in length. The marine crocodilians were also a reversion from the land type of reptile, but unlike the sea serpents, these animals always returned to the land to lay their eggs.
60:2.12 Soon after two species of dinosaurs migrated to the water in a futile attempt at self-preservation, two other types were driven to the air by the bitter competition of life on land. But these flying pterosaurs were not the ancestors of the true birds of subsequent ages. They evolved from the hollow-boned leaping dinosaurs, and their wings were of batlike formation with a spread of twenty to twenty-five feet. These ancient flying reptiles grew to be ten feet long, and they had separable jaws much like those of modern snakes. For a time these flying reptiles appeared to be a success, but they failed to evolve along lines which would enable them to survive as air navigators. They represent the nonsurviving strains of bird ancestry.
60:2.13 Turtles increased during this period, first appearing in North America. Their ancestors came over from Asia by way of the northern land bridge.
60:2.14 One hundred million years ago the reptilian age was drawing to a close. The dinosaurs, for all their enormous mass, were all but brainless animals, lacking the intelligence to provide sufficient food to nourish such enormous bodies. And so did these sluggish land reptiles perish in ever-increasing numbers. Henceforth, evolution will follow the growth of brains, not physical bulk, and the development of brains will characterize each succeeding epoch of animal evolution and planetary progress.
60:2.15 This period, embracing the height and the beginning decline of the reptiles, extended nearly twenty-five million years and is known as the Jurassic.
3. THE CRETACEOUS STAGE
THE FLOWERING-PLANT PERIOD
THE AGE OF BIRDS
60:3.1 The great Cretaceous period derives its name from the predominance of the prolific chalk-making foraminifers in the seas. This period brings Urantia to near the end of the long reptilian dominance and witnesses the appearance of flowering plants and bird life on land. These are also the times of the termination of the westward and southward drift of the continents, accompanied by tremendous crustal deformations and concomitant widespread lava flows and great volcanic activities.
60:3.2 Near the close of the preceding geologic period much of the continental land was up above water, although as yet there were no mountain peaks. But as the continental land drift continued, it met with the first great obstruction on the deep floor of the Pacific. This contention of geologic forces gave impetus to the formation of the whole vast north and south mountain range extending from Alaska down through Mexico to Cape Horn.
60:3.3 This period thus becomes the modern mountain-building stage of geologic history. Prior to this time there were few mountain peaks, merely elevated land ridges of great width. Now the Pacific coast range was beginning to elevate, but it was located seven hundred miles west of the present shore line. The Sierras were beginning to form, their gold-bearing quartz strata being the product of lava flows of this epoch. In the eastern part of North America, Atlantic sea pressure was also working to cause land elevation.
60:3.4 100,000,000 years ago the North American continent and a part of Europe were well above water. The warping of the American continents continued, resulting in the metamorphosing of the South American Andes and in the gradual elevation of the western plains of North America. Most of Mexico sank beneath the sea, and the southern Atlantic encroached on the eastern coast of South America, eventually reaching the present shore line. The Atlantic and Indian Oceans were then about as they are today.
60:3.5 95,000,000 years ago the American and European land masses again began to sink. The southern seas commenced the invasion of North America and gradually extended northward to connect with the Arctic Ocean, constituting the second greatest submergence of the continent. When this sea finally withdrew, it left the continent about as it now is. Before this great submergence began, the eastern Appalachian highlands had been almost completely worn down to the water's level. The many colored layers of pure clay now used for the manufacture of earthenware were laid down over the Atlantic coast regions during this age, their average thickness being about 2,000 feet.
60:3.6 Great volcanic actions occurred south of the Alps and along the line of the present California coast-range mountains. The greatest crustal deformations in millions upon millions of years took place in Mexico. Great changes also occurred in Europe, Russia, Japan, and southern South America. The climate became increasingly diversified.
60:3.7 90,000,000 years ago the angiosperms emerged from these early Cretaceous seas and soon overran the continents. These land plants suddenly appeared along with fig trees, magnolias, and tulip trees. Soon after this time fig trees, breadfruit trees, and palms overspread Europe and the western plains of North America. No new land animals appeared.
60:3.8 85,000,000 years ago Bering Strait closed, shutting off the cooling waters of the northern seas. Theretofore the marine life of the Atlantic-Gulf waters and that of the Pacific Ocean had differed greatly, owing to the temperature variations of these two bodies of water, which now became uniform.
60:3.9 The deposits of chalk and greensand marl give name to this period. The sedimentations of these times are variegated, consisting of chalk, shale, sandstone, and small amounts of limestone, together with inferior coal or lignite, and in many regions they contain oil. These layers vary in thickness from 200 feet in some places to 10,000 feet in western North America and numerous European localities. Along the eastern borders of the Rocky Mountains these deposits may be observed in the uptilted foothills.
60:3.10 All over the world these strata are permeated with chalk, and these layers of porous semirock pick up water at upturned outcrops and convey it downward to furnish the water supply of much of the earth's present arid regions.
60:3.11 80,000,000 years ago great disturbances occurred in the earth's crust. The western advance of the continental drift was coming to a standstill, and the enormous energy of the sluggish momentum of the hinter continental mass upcrumpled the Pacific shore line of both North and South America and initiated profound repercussional changes along the Pacific shores of Asia. This circumpacific land elevation, which culminated in present-day mountain ranges, is more than twenty-five thousand miles long. And the upheavals attendant upon its birth were the greatest surface distortions to take place since life appeared on Urantia. The lava flows, both above and below ground, were extensive and widespread.
60:3.12 75,000,000 years ago marks the end of the continental drift. From Alaska to Cape Horn the long Pacific coast mountain ranges were completed, but there were as yet few peaks.
60:3.13 The backthrust of the halted continental drift continued the elevation of the western plains of North America, while in the east the worn-down Appalachian Mountains of the Atlantic coast region were projected straight up, with little or no tilting.
60:3.14 70,000,000 years ago the crustal distortions connected with the maximum elevation of the Rocky Mountain region took place. A large segment of rock was overthrust fifteen miles at the surface in British Columbia; here the Cambrian rocks are obliquely thrust out over the Cretaceous layers. On the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, near the Canadian border, there was another spectacular overthrust; here may be found the prelife stone layers shoved out over the then recent Cretaceous deposits.
60:3.15 This was an age of volcanic activity all over the world, giving rise to numerous small isolated volcanic cones. Submarine volcanoes broke out in the submerged Himalayan region. Much of the rest of Asia, including Siberia, was also still under water.
60:3.16 65,000,000 years ago there occurred one of the greatest lava flows of all time. The deposition layers of these and preceding lava flows are to be found all over the Americas, North and South Africa, Australia, and parts of Europe.
60:3.17 The land animals were little changed, but because of greater continental emergence, especially in North America, they rapidly multiplied. North America was the great field of the land-animal evolution of these times, most of Europe being under water.
60:3.18 The climate was still warm and uniform. The arctic regions were enjoying weather much like that of the present climate in central and southern North America.
60:3.19 Great plant-life evolution was taking place. Among the land plants the angiosperms predominated, and many present-day trees first appeared, including beech, birch, oak, walnut, sycamore, maple, and modern palms. Fruits, grasses, and cereals were abundant, and these seed-bearing grasses and trees were to the plant world what the ancestors of man were to the animal world -- they were second in evolutionary importance only to the appearance of man himself. Suddenly and without previous gradation, the great family of flowering plants mutated. And this new flora soon overspread the entire world.
60:3.20 60,000,000 years ago, though the land reptiles were on the decline, the dinosaurs continued as monarchs of the land, the lead now being taken by the more agile and active types of the smaller leaping kangaroo varieties of the carnivorous dinosaurs. But some time previously there had appeared new types of the herbivorous dinosaurs, whose rapid increase was due to the appearance of the grass family of land plants. One of these new grass-eating dinosaurs was a true quadruped having two horns and a capelike shoulder flange. The land type of turtle, twenty feet across, appeared as did also the modern crocodile and true snakes of the modern type. Great changes were also occurring among the fishes and other forms of marine life.
60:3.21 The wading and swimming prebirds of earlier ages had not been a success in the air, nor had the flying dinosaurs. They were a short-lived species, soon becoming extinct. They, too, were subject to the dinosaur doom, destruction, because of having too little brain substance in comparison with body size. This second attempt to produce animals that could navigate the atmosphere failed, as did the abortive attempt to produce mammals during this and a preceding age.
60:3.22 55,000,000 years ago the evolutionary march was marked by the sudden appearance of the first of the true birds, a small pigeonlike creature which was the ancestor of all bird life. This was the third type of flying creature to appear on earth, and it sprang directly from the reptilian group, not from the contemporary flying dinosaurs nor from the earlier types of toothed land birds. And so this becomes known as the age of birds as well as the declining age of reptiles.
4. THE END OF THE CHALK PERIOD
60:4.1 The great Cretaceous period was drawing to a close, and its termination marks the end of the great sea invasions of the continents. Particularly is this true of North America, where there had been just twenty-four great inundations. And though there were subsequent minor submergences, none of these can be compared with the extensive and lengthy marine invasions of this and previous ages. These alternate periods of land and sea dominance have occurred in million-year cycles. There has been an agelong rhythm associated with this rise and fall of ocean floor and continental land levels. And these same rhythmical crustal movements will continue from this time on throughout the earth's history but with diminishing frequency and extent.
60:4.2 This period also witnesses the end of the continental drift and the building of the modern mountains of Urantia. But the pressure of the continental masses and the thwarted momentum of their agelong drift are not the exclusive influences in mountain building. The chief and underlying factor in determining the location of a mountain range is the pre-existent lowland, or trough, which has become filled up with the comparatively lighter deposits of the land erosion and marine drifts of the preceding ages. These lighter areas of land are sometimes 15,000 to 20,000 feet thick; therefore, when the crust is subjected to pressure from any cause, these lighter areas are the first to crumple up, fold, and rise upward to afford compensatory adjustment for the contending and conflicting forces and pressures at work in the earth's crust or underneath the crust. Sometimes these upthrusts of land occur without folding. But in connection with the rise of the Rocky Mountains, great folding and tilting occurred, coupled with enormous overthrusts of the various layers, both underground and at the surface.
60:4.3 The oldest mountains of the world are located in Asia, Greenland, and northern Europe among those of the older east-west systems. The mid-age mountains are in the circumpacific group and in the second European east-west system, which was born at about the same time. This gigantic uprising is almost ten thousand miles long, extending from Europe over into the West Indies land elevations. The youngest mountains are in the Rocky Mountain system, where, for ages, land elevations had occurred only to be successively covered by the sea, though some of the higher lands remained as islands. Subsequent to the formation of the mid-age mountains, a real mountain highland was elevated which was destined, subsequently, to be carved into the present Rocky Mountains by the combined artistry of nature's elements.
60:4.4 The present North American Rocky Mountain region is not the original elevation of land; that elevation had been long since leveled by erosion and then re-elevated. The present front range of mountains is what is left of the remains of the original range which was re-elevated. Pikes Peak and Longs Peak are outstanding examples of this mountain activity, extending over two or more generations of mountain lives. These two peaks held their heads above water during several of the preceding inundations.
60:4.5 Biologically as well as geologically this was an eventful and active age on land and under water. Sea urchins increased while corals and crinoids decreased. The ammonites, of preponderant influence during a previous age, also rapidly declined. On land the fern forests were largely replaced by pine and other modern trees, including the gigantic redwoods. By the end of this period, while the placental mammal has not yet evolved, the biologic stage is fully set for the appearance, in a subsequent age, of the early ancestors of the future mammalian types.
60:4.6 And thus ends a long era of world evolution, extending from the early appearance of land life down to the more recent times of the immediate ancestors of the human species and its collateral branches. This, the Cretaceous age, covers fifty million years and brings to a close the premammalian era of land life, which extends over a period of one hundred million years and is known as the Mesozoic.
60:4.7 Presented by a Life Carrier of Nebadon assigned to Satania and now functioning on Urantia.
Urantia Book Paper 61 Page 693
61:0.1 THE era of mammals extends from the times of the origin of placental mammals to the end of the ice age, covering a little less than fifty million years.
61:0.2 During this Cenozoic age the world's landscape presented an attractive appearance -- rolling hills, broad valleys, wide rivers, and great forests. Twice during this sector of time the Panama Isthmus went up and down; three times Bering Strait land bridge did the same. The animal types were both many and varied. The trees swarmed with birds, and the whole world was an animal paradise, notwithstanding the incessant struggle of the evolving animal species for supremacy.
61:0.3 The accumulated deposits of the five periods of this fifty-million-year era contain the fossil records of the successive mammalian dynasties and lead right up through the times of the actual appearance of man himself.
1. THE NEW CONTINENTAL LAND STAGE
THE AGE OF EARLY MAMMALS
61:1.1 50,000,000 years ago the land areas of the world were very generally above water or only slightly submerged. The formations and deposits of this period are both land and marine, but chiefly land. For a considerable time the land gradually rose but was simultaneously washed down to the lower levels and toward the seas.
61:1.2 Early in this period and in North America the placental type of mammals suddenly appeared, and they constituted the most important evolutionary development up to this time. Previous orders of nonplacental mammals had existed, but this new type sprang directly and suddenly from the pre-existent reptilian ancestor whose descendants had persisted on down through the times of dinosaur decline. The father of the placental mammals was a small, highly active, carnivorous, springing type of dinosaur.
61:1.3 Basic mammalian instincts began to be manifested in these primitive mammalian types. Mammals possess an immense survival advantage over all other forms of animal life in that they can:
1. Bring forth relatively mature and well-developed offspring.
2. Nourish, nurture, and protect their offspring with affectionate regard.
3. Employ their superior brain power in self-perpetuation.
4. Utilize increased agility in escaping from enemies.
5. Apply superior intelligence to environmental adjustment and adaptation.
61:1.4 45,000,000 years ago the continental backbones were elevated in association with a very general sinking of the coast lines. Mammalian life was evolving rapidly. A small reptilian, egg-laying type of mammal flourished, and the ancestors of the later kangaroos roamed Australia. Soon there were small horses, fleet-footed rhinoceroses, tapirs with proboscises, primitive pigs, squirrels, lemurs, opossums, and several tribes of monkeylike animals. They were all small, primitive, and best suited to living among the forests of the mountain regions. A large ostrichlike land bird developed to a height of ten feet and laid an egg nine by thirteen inches. These were the ancestors of the later gigantic passenger birds that were so highly intelligent, and that onetime transported human beings through the air.
61:1.5 The mammals of the early Cenozoic lived on land, under the water, in the air, and among the treetops. They had from one to eleven pairs of mammary glands, and all were covered with considerable hair. In common with the later appearing orders, they developed two successive sets of teeth and possessed large brains in comparison to body size. But among them all no modern forms existed.
61:1.6 40,000,000 years ago the land areas of the Northern Hemisphere began to elevate, and this was followed by new extensive land deposits and other terrestrial activities, including lava flows, warping, lake formation, and erosion.
61:1.7 During the latter part of this epoch most of Europe was submerged. Following a slight land rise the continent was covered by lakes and bays. The Arctic Ocean, through the Ural depression, ran south to connect with the Mediterranean Sea as it was then expanded northward, the highlands of the Alps, Carpathians, Apennines, and Pyrenees being up above the water as islands of the sea. The Isthmus of Panama was up; the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans were separated. North America was connected with Asia by the Bering Strait land bridge and with Europe by way of Greenland and Iceland. The earth circuit of land in northern latitudes was broken only by the Ural Straits, which connected the arctic seas with the enlarged Mediterranean.
61:1.8 Considerable foraminiferal limestone was deposited in European waters. Today this same stone is elevated to a height of 10,000 feet in the Alps, 16,000 feet in the Himalayas, and 20,000 feet in Tibet. The chalk deposits of this period are found along the coasts of Africa and Australia, on the west coast of South America, and about the West Indies.
61:1.9 Throughout this so-called Eocene period the evolution of mammalian and other related forms of life continued with little or no interruption. North America was then connected by land with every continent except Australia, and the world was gradually overrun by primitive mammalian fauna of various types.
2. THE RECENT FLOOD STAGE
THE AGE OF ADVANCED MAMMALS
61:2.1 This period was characterized by the further and rapid evolution of placental mammals, the more progressive forms of mammalian life developing during these times.
61:2.2 Although the early placental mammals sprang from carnivorous ancestors, very soon herbivorous branches developed, and, erelong, omnivorous mammalian families also sprang up. The angiosperms were the principal food of the rapidly increasing mammals, the modern land flora, including the majority of present-day plants and trees, having appeared during earlier periods.
61:2.3 35,000,000 years ago marks the beginning of the age of placental-mammalian world domination. The southern land bridge was extensive, reconnecting the then enormous Antarctic continent with South America, South Africa, and Australia. In spite of the massing of land in high latitudes, the world climate remained relatively mild because of the enormous increase in the size of the tropic seas, nor was the land elevated sufficiently to produce glaciers. Extensive lava flows occurred in Greenland and Iceland, some coal being deposited between these layers.
61:2.4 Marked changes were taking place in the fauna of the planet. The sea life was undergoing great modification; most of the present-day orders of marine life were in existence, and foraminifers continued to play an important role. The insect life was much like that of the previous era. The Florissant fossil beds of Colorado belong to the later years of these far-distant times. Most of the living insect families go back to this period, but many then in existence are now extinct, though their fossils remain.
61:2.5 On land this was pre-eminently the age of mammalian renovation and expansion. Of the earlier and more primitive mammals, over one hundred species were extinct before this period ended. Even the mammals of large size and small brain soon perished. Brains and agility had replaced armor and size in the progress of animal survival. And with the dinosaur family on the decline, the mammals slowly assumed domination of the earth, speedily and completely destroying the remainder of their reptilian ancestors.
61:2.6 Along with the disappearance of the dinosaurs, other and great changes occurred in the various branches of the saurian family. The surviving members of the early reptilian families are turtles, snakes, and crocodiles, together with the venerable frog, the only remaining group representative of man's earlier ancestors.
61:2.7 Various groups of mammals had their origin in a unique animal now extinct. This carnivorous creature was something of a cross between a cat and a seal; it could live on land or in water and was highly intelligent and very active. In Europe the ancestor of the canine family evolved, soon giving rise to many species of small dogs. About the same time the gnawing rodents, including beavers, squirrels, gophers, mice, and rabbits, appeared and soon became a notable form of life, very little change having since occurred in this family. The later deposits of this period contain the fossil remains of dogs, cats, coons, and weasels in ancestral form.
61:2.8 30,000,000 years ago the modern types of mammals began to make their appearance. Formerly the mammals had lived for the greater part in the hills, being of the mountainous types; suddenly there began the evolution of the plains or hoofed type, the grazing species, as differentiated from the clawed flesh eaters. These grazers sprang from an undifferentiated ancestor having five toes and forty-four teeth, which perished before the end of the age. Toe evolution did not progress beyond the three-toed stage throughout this period.
61:2.9 The horse, an outstanding example of evolution, lived during these times in both North America and Europe, though his development was not fully completed until the later ice age. While the rhinoceros family appeared at the close of this period, it underwent its greatest expansion subsequently. A small hoglike creature also developed which became the ancestor of the many species of swine, peccaries, and hippopotamuses. Camels and llamas had their origin in North America about the middle of this period and overran the western plains. Later, the llamas migrated to South America, the camels to Europe, and soon both were extinct in North America, though a few camels survived up to the ice age.
61:2.10 About this time a notable thing occurred in western North America: The early ancestors of the ancient lemurs first made their appearance. While this family cannot be regarded as true lemurs, their coming marked the establishment of the line from which the true lemurs subsequently sprang.
61:2.11 Like the land serpents of a previous age which betook themselves to the seas, now a whole tribe of placental mammals deserted the land and took up their residence in the oceans. And they have ever since remained in the sea, yielding the modern whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions.
61:2.12 The bird life of the planet continued to develop, but with few important evolutionary changes. The majority of modern birds were existent, including gulls, herons, flamingoes, buzzards, falcons, eagles, owls, quails, and ostriches.
61:2.13 By the close of this Oligocene period, covering ten million years, the plant life, together with the marine life and the land animals, had very largely evolved and was present on earth much as today. Considerable specialization has subsequently appeared, but the ancestral forms of most living things were then alive.
3. THE MODERN MOUNTAIN STAGE
AGE OF THE ELEPHANT AND THE HORSE
61:3.1 Land elevation and sea segregation were slowly changing the world's weather, gradually cooling it, but the climate was still mild. Sequoias and magnolias grew in Greenland, but the subtropical plants were beginning to migrate southward. By the end of this period these warm-climate plants and trees had largely disappeared from the northern latitudes, their places being taken by more hardy plants and the deciduous trees.
61:3.2 There was a great increase in the varieties of grasses, and the teeth of many mammalian species gradually altered to conform to the present-day grazing type.
61:3.3 25,000,000 years ago there was a slight land submergence following the long epoch of land elevation. The Rocky Mountain region remained highly elevated so that the deposition of erosion material continued throughout the lowlands to the east. The Sierras were well re-elevated; in fact, they have been rising ever since. The great four-mile vertical fault in the California region dates from this time.
61:3.4 20,000,000 years ago was indeed the golden age of mammals. Bering Strait land bridge was up, and many groups of animals migrated to North America from Asia, including the four-tusked mastodons, short-legged rhinoceroses, and many varieties of the cat family.
61:3.5 The first deer appeared, and North America was soon overrun by ruminants -- deer, oxen, camels, bison, and several species of rhinoceroses -- but the giant pigs, more than six feet tall, became extinct.
61:3.6 The huge elephants of this and subsequent periods possessed large brains as well as large bodies, and they soon overran the entire world except Australia. For once the world was dominated by a huge animal with a brain sufficiently large to enable it to carry on. Confronted by the highly intelligent life of these ages, no animal the size of an elephant could have survived unless it had possessed a brain of large size and superior quality. In intelligence and adaptation the elephant is approached only by the horse and is surpassed only by man himself. Even so, of the fifty species of elephants in existence at the opening of this period, only two have survived.
61:3.7 15,000,000 years ago the mountain regions of Eurasia were rising, and there was some volcanic activity throughout these regions, but nothing comparable to the lava flows of the Western Hemisphere. These unsettled conditions prevailed all over the world.
61:3.8 The Strait of Gibraltar closed, and Spain was connected with Africa by the old land bridge, but the Mediterranean flowed into the Atlantic through a narrow channel which extended across France, the mountain peaks and highlands appearing as islands above this ancient sea. Later on, these European seas began to withdraw. Still later, the Mediterranean was connected with the Indian Ocean, while at the close of this period the Suez region was elevated so that the Mediterranean became, for a time, an inland salt sea.
61:3.9 The Iceland land bridge submerged, and the arctic waters commingled with those of the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic coast of North America rapidly cooled, but the Pacific coast remained warmer than at present. The great ocean currents were in function and affected climate much as they do today.
61:3.10 Mammalian life continued to evolve. Enormous herds of horses joined the camels on the western plains of North America; this was truly the age of horses as well as of elephants. The horse's brain is next in animal quality to that of the elephant, but in one respect it is decidedly inferior, for the horse never fully overcame the deep-seated propensity to flee when frightened. The horse lacks the emotional control of the elephant, while the elephant is greatly handicapped by size and lack of agility. During this period an animal evolved which was somewhat like both the elephant and the horse, but it was soon destroyed by the rapidly increasing cat family.
61:3.11 As Urantia is entering the so-called "horseless age," you should pause and ponder what this animal meant to your ancestors. Men first used horses for food, then for travel, and later in agriculture and war. The horse has long served mankind and has played an important part in the development of human civilization.
61:3.12 The biologic developments of this period contributed much toward the setting of the stage for the subsequent appearance of man. In central Asia the true types of both the primitive monkey and the gorilla evolved, having a common ancestor, now extinct. But neither of these species is concerned in the line of living beings which were, later on, to become the ancestors of the human race.
61:3.13 The dog family was represented by several groups, notably wolves and foxes; the cat tribe, by panthers and large saber-toothed tigers, the latter first evolving in North America. The modern cat and dog families increased in numbers all over the world. Weasels, martins, otters, and raccoons thrived and developed throughout the northern latitudes.
61:3.14 Birds continued to evolve, though few marked changes occurred. Reptiles were similar to modern types -- snakes, crocodiles, and turtles.
61:3.15 Thus drew to a close a very eventful and interesting period of the world's history. This age of the elephant and the horse is known as the Miocene.
4. THE RECENT CONTINENTAL-ELEVATION STAGE
THE LAST GREAT MAMMALIAN MIGRATION
61:4.1 This is the period of preglacial land elevation in North America, Europe, and Asia. The land was greatly altered in topography. Mountain ranges were born, streams changed their courses, and isolated volcanoes broke out all over the world.
61:4.2 10,000,000 years ago began an age of widespread local land deposits on the lowlands of the continents, but most of these sedimentations were later removed. Much of Europe, at this time, was still under water, including parts of England, Belgium, and France, and the Mediterranean Sea covered much of northern Africa. In North America extensive depositions were made at the mountain bases, in lakes, and in the great land basins. These deposits average only about two hundred feet, are more or less colored, and fossils are rare. Two great fresh-water lakes existed in western North America. The Sierras were elevating; Shasta, Hood, and Rainier were beginning their mountain careers. But it was not until the subsequent ice age that North America began its creep toward the Atlantic depression.
61:4.3 For a short time all the land of the world was again joined excepting Australia, and the last great world-wide animal migration took place. North America was connected with both South America and Asia, and there was a free exchange of animal life. Asiatic sloths, armadillos, antelopes, and bears entered North America, while North American camels went to China. Rhinoceroses migrated over the whole world except Australia and South America, but they were extinct in the Western Hemisphere by the close of this period.
61:4.4 In general, the life of the preceding period continued to evolve and spread. The cat family dominated the animal life, and marine life was almost at a standstill. Many of the horses were still three-toed, but the modern types were arriving; llamas and giraffelike camels mingled with the horses on the grazing plains. The giraffe appeared in Africa, having just as long a neck then as now. In South America sloths, armadillos, anteaters, and the South American type of primitive monkeys evolved. Before the continents were finally isolated, those massive animals, the mastodons, migrated everywhere except to Australia.
61:4.5 5,000,000 years ago the horse evolved as it now is and from North America migrated to all the world. But the horse had become extinct on the continent of its origin long before the red man arrived.
61:4.6 The climate was gradually getting cooler; the land plants were slowly moving southward. At first it was the increasing cold in the north that stopped animal migrations over the northern isthmuses; subsequently these North American land bridges went down. Soon afterwards the land connection between Africa and South America finally submerged, and the Western Hemisphere was isolated much as it is today. From this time forward distinct types of life began to develop in the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.
61:4.7 And thus does this period of almost ten million years' duration draw to a close, and not yet has the ancestor of man appeared. This is the time usually designated as the Pliocene.
5. THE EARLY ICE AGE
61:5.1 By the close of the preceding period the lands of the northeastern part of North America and of northern Europe were highly elevated on an extensive scale, in North America vast areas rising up to 30,000 feet and more. Mild climates had formerly prevailed over these northern regions, and the arctic waters were all open to evaporation, and they continued to be ice-free until almost the close of the glacial period.
61:5.2 Simultaneously with these land elevations the ocean currents shifted, and the seasonal winds changed their direction. These conditions eventually produced an almost constant precipitation of moisture from the movement of the heavily saturated atmosphere over the northern highlands. Snow began to fall on these elevated and therefore cool regions, and it continued to fall until it had attained a depth of 20,000 feet. The areas of the greatest depth of snow, together with altitude, determined the central points of subsequent glacial pressure flows. And the ice age persisted just as long as this excessive precipitation continued to cover these northern highlands with this enormous mantle of snow, which soon metamorphosed into solid but creeping ice.
61:5.3 The great ice sheets of this period were all located on elevated highlands, not in mountainous regions where they are found today. One half of the glacial ice was in North America, one fourth in Eurasia, and one fourth elsewhere, chiefly in Antarctica. Africa was little affected by the ice, but Australia was almost covered with the antarctic ice blanket.
61:5.4 The northern regions of this world have experienced six separate and distinct ice invasions, although there were scores of advances and recessions associated with the activity of each individual ice sheet. The ice in North America collected in two and, later, three centers. Greenland was covered, and Iceland was completely buried beneath the ice flow. In Europe the ice at various times covered the British Isles excepting the coast of southern England, and it overspread western Europe down to France.
61:5.5 2,000,000 years ago the first North American glacier started its southern advance. The ice age was now in the making, and this glacier consumed nearly one million years in its advance from, and retreat back toward, the northern pressure centers. The central ice sheet extended south as far as Kansas; the eastern and western ice centers were not then so extensive.
61:5.6 1,500,000 years ago the first great glacier was retreating northward. In the meantime, enormous quantities of snow had been falling on Greenland and on the northeastern part of North America, and erelong this eastern ice mass began to flow southward. This was the second invasion of the ice.
61:5.7 These first two ice invasions were not extensive in Eurasia. During these early epochs of the ice age North America was overrun with mastodons, woolly mammoths, horses, camels, deer, musk oxen, bison, ground sloths, giant beavers, saber-toothed tigers, sloths as large as elephants, and many groups of the cat and dog families. But from this time forward they were rapidly reduced in numbers by the increasing cold of the glacial period. Toward the close of the ice age the majority of these animal species were extinct in North America.
61:5.8 Away from the ice the land and water life of the world was little changed. Between the ice invasions the climate was about as mild as at present, perhaps a little warmer. The glaciers were, after all, local phenomena, though they spread out to cover enormous areas. The coastwise climate varied greatly between the times of glacial inaction and those times when enormous icebergs were sliding off the coast of Maine into the Atlantic, slipping out through Puget Sound into the Pacific, and thundering down Norwegian fiords into the North Sea.
6. PRIMITIVE MAN IN THE ICE AGE
61:6.1 The great event of this glacial period was the evolution of primitive man. Slightly to the west of India, on land now under water and among the offspring of Asiatic migrants of the older North American lemur types, the dawn mammals suddenly appeared. These small animals walked mostly on their hind legs, and they possessed large brains in proportion to their size and in comparison with the brains of other animals. In the seventieth generation of this order of life a new and higher group of animals suddenly differentiated. These new mid-mammals -- almost twice the size and height of their ancestors and possessing proportionately increased brain power -- had only well established themselves when the Primates, the third vital mutation, suddenly appeared. (At this same time, a retrograde development within the mid-mammal stock gave origin to the simian ancestry; and from that day to this the human branch has gone forward by progressive evolution, while the simian tribes have remained stationary or have actually retrogressed.)
61:6.2 1,000,000 years ago Urantia was registered as an inhabited world. A mutation within the stock of the progressing Primates suddenly produced two primitive human beings, the actual ancestors of mankind.
61:6.3 This event occurred at about the time of the beginning of the third glacial advance; thus it may be seen that your early ancestors were born and bred in a stimulating, invigorating, and difficult environment. And the sole survivors of these Urantia aborigines, the Eskimos, even now prefer to dwell in frigid northern climes.
61:6.4 Human beings were not present in the Western Hemisphere until near the close of the ice age. But during the interglacial epochs they passed westward around the Mediterranean and soon overran the continent of Europe. In the caves of western Europe may be found human bones mingled with the remains of both tropic and arctic animals, testifying that man lived in these regions throughout the later epochs of the advancing and retreating glaciers.
7. THE CONTINUING ICE AGE
61:7.1 Throughout the glacial period other activities were in progress, but the action of the ice overshadows all other phenomena in the northern latitudes. No other terrestrial activity leaves such characteristic evidence on the topography. The distinctive boulders and surface cleavages, such as potholes, lakes, displaced stone, and rock flour, are to be found in connection with no other phenomenon in nature. The ice is also responsible for those gentle swells, or surface undulations, known as drumlins. And a glacier, as it advances, displaces rivers and changes the whole face of the earth. Glaciers alone leave behind them those telltale drifts -- the ground, lateral, and terminal moraines. These drifts, particularly the ground moraines, extend from the eastern seaboard north and westward in North America and are found in Europe and Siberia.
61:7.2 750,000 years ago the fourth ice sheet, a union of the North American central and eastern ice fields, was well on its way south; at its height it reached to southern Illinois, displacing the Mississippi River fifty miles to the west, and in the east it extended as far south as the Ohio River and central Pennsylvania.
61:7.3 In Asia the Siberian ice sheet made its southernmost invasion, while in Europe the advancing ice stopped just short of the mountain barrier of the Alps.
61:7.4 500,000 years ago, during the fifth advance of the ice, a new development accelerated the course of human evolution. Suddenly and in one generation the six colored races mutated from the aboriginal human stock. This is a doubly important date since it also marks the arrival of the Planetary Prince.
61:7.5 In North America the advancing fifth glacier consisted of a combined invasion by all three ice centers. The eastern lobe, however, extended only a short distance below the St. Lawrence valley, and the western ice sheet made little southern advance. But the central lobe reached south to cover most of the State of Iowa. In Europe this invasion of the ice was not so extensive as the preceding one.
61:7.6 250,000 years ago the sixth and last glaciation began. And despite the fact that the northern highlands had begun to sink slightly, this was the period of greatest snow deposition on the northern ice fields.
61:7.7 In this invasion the three great ice sheets coalesced into one vast ice mass, and all of the western mountains participated in this glacial activity. This was the largest of all ice invasions in North America; the ice moved south over fifteen hundred miles from its pressure centers, and North America experienced its lowest temperatures.
61:7.8 200,000 years ago, during the advance of the last glacier, there occurred an episode which had much to do with the march of events on Urantia -- the Lucifer rebellion.
61:7.9 150,000 years ago the sixth and last glacier reached its farthest points of southern extension, the western ice sheet crossing just over the Canadian border; the central coming down into Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois; the eastern sheet advancing south and covering the greater portion of Pennsylvania and Ohio.
61:7.10 This is the glacier that sent forth the many tongues, or ice lobes, which carved out the present-day lakes, great and small. During its retreat the North American system of Great Lakes was produced. And Urantian geologists have very accurately deduced the various stages of this development and have correctly surmised that these bodies of water did, at different times, empty first into the Mississippi valley, then eastward into the Hudson valley, and finally by a northern route into the St. Lawrence. It is thirty-seven thousand years since the connected Great Lakes system began to empty out over the present Niagara route.
61:7.11 100,000 years ago, during the retreat of the last glacier, the vast polar ice sheets began to form, and the center of ice accumulation moved considerably northward. And as long as the polar regions continue to be covered with ice, it is hardly possible for another glacial age to occur, regardless of future land elevations or modification of ocean currents.
61:7.12 This last glacier was one hundred thousand years advancing, and it required a like span of time to complete its northern retreat. The temperate regions have been free from the ice for a little over fifty thousand years.
61:7.13 The rigorous glacial period destroyed many species and radically changed numerous others. Many were sorely sifted by the to-and-fro migration which was made necessary by the advancing and retreating ice. Those animals which followed the glaciers back and forth over the land were the bear, bison, reindeer, musk ox, mammoth, and mastodon.
61:7.14 The mammoth sought the open prairies, but the mastodon preferred the sheltered fringes of the forest regions. The mammoth, until a late date, ranged from Mexico to Canada; the Siberian variety became wool covered. The mastodon persisted in North America until exterminated by the red man much as the white man later killed off the bison.
61:7.15 In North America, during the last glaciation, the horse, tapir, llama, and saber-toothed tiger became extinct. In their places sloths, armadillos, and water hogs came up from South America.
61:7.16 The enforced migration of life before the advancing ice led to an extraordinary commingling of plants and of animals, and with the retreat of the final ice invasion, many arctic species of both plants and animals were left stranded high upon certain mountain peaks, whither they had journeyed to escape destruction by the glacier. And so, today, these dislocated plants and animals may be found high up on the Alps of Europe and even on the Appalachian Mountains of North America.
61:7.17 The ice age is the last completed geologic period, the so-called Pleistocene, over two million years in length.
61:7.18 35,000 years ago marks the termination of the great ice age excepting in the polar regions of the planet. This date is also significant in that it approximates the arrival of a Material Son and Daughter and the beginning of the Adamic dispensation, roughly corresponding to the beginning of the Holocene or postglacial period.
61:7.19 This narrative, extending from the rise of mammalian life to the retreat of the ice and on down to historic times, covers a span of almost fifty million years. This is the last -- the current -- geologic period and is known to your researchers as the Cenozoic or recent-times era.
61:7.20 Sponsored by a Resident Life Carrier.
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