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The Enigma of the Polar Dinosaurs

New evidence that large dinosaurs once roamed near the south pole is presenting some challenges to official paleon­tology. How could animals once associated with temperate-to-tropical climes find their way into regions thought to be so very cold? The answer, at least according to scientists at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, meeting recent­ly in Texas, was they were fat, very fat.

According to Thomas Rich, curator of vertebrate paleontology at Australia’s Museum of Victoria in an interview with London’s Daily Mail, three different giant fossil footprints have been recently found in southern Australia, an area which once joined the Antarctic continent at a time when, it is believed, only the so-called super continent of Godwana existed. The massive animals are estimated to have been about 12 feet tall. Still a mystery though, so far, as we know, is just where the enormous quantities of food needed to sustain such large fat creatures could have come from in temperatures believed to be as low as -22° F in the winter and no higher than 68° F in the summer. Never­theless, the consensus seems to be that the big dinosaurs lived in the area for at least 10 million years.

Another, perhaps more plausible, explanation for the existence of polar dinosaurs, though, has received scant, if any, attention from the experts. According to some, including the late scholar Charles Hapgood, the polar regions have not always been polar. By this reckoning, the surface of the earth has shifted dramatically, in relation to its poles, on several occasions throughout the remote past, causing areas once cold to become temperate, and vice versa. Hapgood believed that most recently—about 11,000 years ago—such a movement accounted for the sudden destruction of Siberia’s mammoths, many of whom have been found frozen with their last meal still undigested in their stom­achs. Hapgood also thought that the existence of ancient maps accurately depicting the coast of Antarctica beneath the ice was evidence of the existence of a seafaring people familiar with the area before the last pole shift, after which the ice formed.

For those who find Hapgood’s ideas fanciful, we have a fat polar dinosaur theory they might buy.

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