Just Rs 999: 1-year pack + offers

Journalism of Courage
Advertisement

A 2-million-year old Eden discovered

After 16 years of painstaking work, scientists have managed to gather DNA from animals that lived over 2 million years ago in a lush forest where there is now a vast, cold desert. As artists' renderings of what the arctic Eden looked like flood the internet, the beauty of eons past make the conflicts and issues of the day pale in comparison

That Greenland was once green has been known for some time now.
Listen to this article Your browser does not support the audio element.

Greenland, the legend goes, was named so by the Viking Erik the Red in what is bound to be one of the first acts of “creative” marketing. Erik was exiled to the island after committing murder and he hoped that by calling the sparse, polar desert “green”, he might attract more settlers from Northern Europe. Now, after 16 years of painstaking work, scientists have managed to gather DNA from animals that lived over 2 million years ago in a lush forest where there is now a vast, cold desert.

That Greenland was once green has been known for some time now. What the latest set of DNA has done is enable a form of time travel, to over 1 million years farther back than has been done before. At the time, the Arctic was almost 20 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today. The forests housed mastodons and hares and carnivores like sabre-toothed cats. The sea had crabs and fish that are unthinkable in the region today. And perhaps, most significantly, the flora and fauna would have had to adapt to the kind of climate change — perhaps even of a greater magnitude — than the warming of the planet due to human activities is causing today.

As artists’ renderings of what the arctic Eden looked like flood the internet, the beauty of eons past make the conflicts and issues of the day pale in comparison. After all, what is the life of a company, family, government and even society when measured against the almost unimaginable scale of geological time. In 16 years, with some advancements in DNA sequencing, scientists have managed to push back the boundaries of life on a large swathe of the planet by millennia. Meanwhile, Erik the Red is probably smiling beyond the grave. His ad campaign for a home-in-exile wasn’t a lie, after all. He just missed the date.

Subscriber Only Stories
First published on: 09-12-2022 at 06:30 IST
Next Story

Why Congress’ loss in Gujarat is more telling than its win in Himachal

Tags:
Home
ePaper
Next Story
close
X