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In describing the voyages of different explorers we have spoken more than once of their observations of living creatures in the Arctic and Antarctic regions--creatures which could find no sustenance if there were not warmth and fertility in those regions. Perhaps the reader was inclined to think that the first few instances we adduced were exceptional, but as he found explorer after explorer making the same observation we are sure that he became more and more impressed.
But in order to show the full weight of this evidence we shall bring it all together in the present chapter, arranging it according to the various species observed, so that a complete picture of arctic animal and plant life will be spread before the reader--and that picture when viewed as a whole is a complete proof of our theory--for the number and variety of animals and plants which figure in it is so great that their occurrence in any but a region where they had a firm and abundant basis for their life--such as the interior of the earth supplies--would be absolutely impossible.
Let us first remind the reader that these birds and animals and flowers of the Arctic regions are no new
feature of them but have been there as far as the memory of man goes back. We have seen how the Eskimos have old traditions of them. When we come to later times we find the animals and plants still there. Some of the earliest testimony about them, the earliest testimony of modern times, that is, has been collected by the scholar whom we have already quoted, the Hon. Dames Barrington, in his book "On the Possibility of Approaching the North Pole." He tells us not only that driftwood is driven on the north coast of Iceland which could come from no other quarter than the north, but that among other fresh pieces whole trees were found which yet had their buds on them, something which would have been absolutely impossible if this wood had drifted long distances from southern climes. It is obvious that a very few months in salt water would kill the buds, but here were trees which had evidently been growing only a short time before. And he further tells us that observers in Spitzbergen have always noticed that in spring, just before the hatching season, the wild ducks, geese, and other birds, fly in a northernly direction. There is also a heavy fall migration to the north.
Another early modern writer has this to say of the animals and fish of the north:
"It is a fact well attested by whalers and fishers in the northern seas, and one that almost every author
who adverts to the northern fisheries confirms, that innumerable and almost incredible numbers of whales, mackerel, herring, and other migratory fish annually come down in the spring season of the year, from the arctic seas toward the equator. Some authors describe the shoals of herring alone to be equal in surface to the island of Great Britain. Besides these, innumerable shoals of other fish also come down. These fish when they first come from the north in the spring, are in their best plight and fattest condition; but as the season advances and they move on to the southward, they become poor; so much so that, by the time they get to the coast of France or Spain, as fishermen say, they are scarce worth catching.
"The history of the migratory fish affords strong grounds to conclude that the shoals which come from the north are like swarms of bees from the mother hive, never to return. They are not known to return in shoals; and it is doubted by some writers whether any of them ever return north again. . . ."
To that we would simply add that a source of life so prolific and never failing that it is likened to a hive, a place where the fish breed and from which they come in shoal after shoal, is just what one might expect to find in the well warmed interior of the earth. One could never imagine such a place under a sea of solid ice. But our authority proceeds:
"Pinkerton, in his voyages, states that the Dutch, who at various periods got detained in the ice and were compelled to winter in high northern latitudes, could find but few fish to subsist on during the winter; which proves that the migrating fish do not winter amongst or on this side of the ice."
It follows from that, that there must be immense fish-breeding grounds on the other side of the so-called polar ice, for only in a favorable location could these shoals live and breed--and it must be remembered that they would require an immense quantity of food, and only in a very temperate sea would enough food grow.
To quote a little further:
"The seal, another animal found in cold regions, is also said to migrate north twice each year; going once beyond the icy circle to produce their young, and again to complete their growth, always returning remarkably fat--an evidence that they find something more than snow and ice to feed on in the country to which they migrate."
In "Ree's Encyclopedia" there is one of the early articles descriptive of Hudson's Bay, and it is there stated that reindeer "are seen in the spring season of the year, about the month of March or April, coming down from the north, in droves of eight or
ten thousand, and that they are known to return northward in the month of October, when the snow becomes deep." The account goes on to say:
"We are informed by Professor Adams, of St. Petersburg, that on the northern coast of Asia, every autumn the reindeer start northeastwardly from the river Lena, and return again in the spring in good condition."
Short of such a hospitable country as is afforded by the interior of the earth, where could these animals possibly find warmth and nutriment?
Among early nineteenth century accounts of northern explorations, "Hearne's Journal" is one of the most interesting. In its pages we may read that large droves of musk-oxen abound in the arctic regions, as many as several herds each aggregating seventy to eighty head being seen by Hearne in one day. Few of them ever came as far south as the Hudson's Bay settlements. He also states that polar white bears are rarely seen in the winter and that their winter habitat is a mystery. But in the spring they suddenly appear from some unknown place having their young with them.
Hearne goes on to tell us that white foxes are exceedingly plentiful some years, and that they always
come from the north; that the animals which appear do not go again to the north, so that the supply from there must be inexhaustible. Other species of animals and fish, he tells us, are plentiful some years and very scarce in other years, which would indicate, perhaps, that under certain conditions of weather they migrate within the interior of the earth instead of coming over the ice barriers to the exterior.
Hearne has also some very interesting observations about the large numbers of swans, geese, brants, ducks, and other wild water-fowl which are so numerous about Hudson's Bay. Of geese alone there are ten different species, several of which he says--particularly the snow goose, the blue goose, the brent goose, and the horned wavy goose--lay their eggs and raise their young in some country which to Hearne was unknown--as indeed it has been to all explorers, for that country is no other than the interior of the earth. Even the Indians or Eskimos who had explored all the habitable countries in those regions, could never tell where these fowl bred, and it was well known that they never migrated to the south, and as many of these fowl moulted in the sea-son when they were visible in Hudson's Bay it was certain that they did not breed there for a moulting bird cannot sit on the nest--the moulting and the breeding seasons being always separated.
Now let us follow in further detail the evidences of these various forms of life in the Arctic. We have already spoken of driftwood being found where it could only have come from the interior of the earth. This is such a common occurrence that every explorer almost that we have followed has had .something to say about it. But occasionally even stranger things than trees with green buds on them are found in the Arctic seas. Seeds of unknown species as well as of tropical species have been found, drifted down in northern currents. One very interesting find of this nature was the seed of the entada bean, a tropical seed measuring two and a quarter inches across. This remarkable find was made by a Swedish expedition under Otto Torell near Trurenberg Bay, and it is obvious that this seed must have come from the interior of the earth for it is of a tree that only grows under tropical conditions, and it would have been disintegrated had it been drifting all over the world for many months, as would be the case if it had come up from the tropical regions of the exterior of the planet.
W. J. Gordon, who recounts this find in his "Round About the North Pole" also adduces evidence that in the past there was a great variety of vegetation in Greenland, including magnolia, maple, poplar, lime, walnut, water-lily, myrica, smilax, aralia, sedges and grasses, conifers and ferns. And
it is obvious that these plants were not migrants into Greenland from the south. They could not pass oceans and icy coasts. They must have come over to Greenland from the warm interior.
Gordon also corroborates what we have just read from Ree's old time but accurate observations about reindeer. He tells us that one of the earliest explorers to find this animal in very large numbers, and on its way from some unknown land in the north, was Liakhoff, after whom Liakhoff Island was named, who saw a "mighty crowd" of them, and ascertained that their tracks were all from the north.
Gordon also tells us of Sverdrup's finding of so many hares around latitude 81 degrees that one inlet was actually called Hare Fiord. There was also enough other game to keep the whole exploring party well fed on fresh meat.
Another author who throws much light on this subject is Epes Sargent who, in collaboration with W. H. Cunnington, has written "The Wonders of the Arctic World." In describing the work of Buchan and Franklin, he tells us that one observer in their party, Captain Beechey, saw reindeer grazing on the west coast of Spitzbergen at an elevation of fifteen hundred feet. Meanwhile, there were so many birds that the place reverberated with their cries from dawn till dark, and the little auk were so
numerous that uninterrupted lines of them would extend all over the bay where the party was resting, and so close together that sometimes thirty fell at one shot. The living column was six yards broad and as many deep, and allowing sixteen birds to a cubic yard, there would be four million of them on the wing at the same time. While, Captain Beechey adds, that number appears very large, the little rotges rise in such numbers as to darken the air, and their chorus is distinctly audible at a distance of four miles. Meanwhile, the islands were thickly populated with eider-down ducks, and the "sea about Spitzbergen is as much alive as the land, from the multitude of burgomasters, stront-jaggers, malmouks, kittiwakes, and the rest of the gull tribe, while the amphibious animals and fish enliven both the ice and the water, from the huge whale to the minute clio on which it feeds, swallowing, perhaps, a million at a mouthful."
Later in this book Sargent tells us that Franklin's second expedition saw large numbers of geese migrating to the unknown north, as well as many other birds--sure indication of land to the north. Still later he mentions "innumerable flocks of Arctic and blue gulls, besides almost a dozen other species." He also notes the fact that no matter how far north the human explorer goes he always finds that the polar bear is a little ahead of him, and no matter how far
north these bears are met with they are always on their way further north.
Speaking of Dr. Kane's voyages this same author says:
"It was found that animal life abounded. Musk-oxen were shot at intervals throughout the winter . . . Wolves, bears, foxes, and other animals were repeatedly observed. Geese, ducks, and other water-fowl including plover and other wading birds, were very plentiful during the summer . . . there were large numbers of ptarmigan or snow partridge . . . The waters were found to be filled to an extraordinary degree with marine invertebrata, including jelly-fish and shrimps. Seals were very abundant. Numerous insects were observed also, especially several species of butterfly, flies, bees, and insects of like character. Quite an extensive and varied collection of specimens was secured."
--and those observations were made north of latitude 82.
Cunnington also tells of the finding of much drift-wood by the McClure expedition, some of which in the opinion of the ship's carpenter had not been subject to a very long immersion in the water. McClure himself reports on this expedition that his men saw reindeer and killed musk-oxen on the shores of Prince of Wales strait, and he adds that it is pretty evident that during the whole winter animals may be found in these straits, and that the want of sufficient
light alone prevents our larder being stored with fresh food. And Commander Osborne adds to this testimony the following remarkable admission: "Subsequent observation has completely overthrown the idea that the reindeer, musk-oxen, or other animals inhabiting the archipelago of island north of America migrate southward to avoid an Arctic winter." Later Commander McClure explored Bank's Land and found immense quantities of trees thrown in layers by glacier action evidently that had brought them from the north. Sometimes they protruded fourteen feet from the ground in which they were embedded. One ravine showed along one side a mass of trees tightly packed to a height of forty feet from the bottom of the declivity. The ground around the trees was formed of sand and shingle, showing that the trees had not grown there but had been carried there from some other spot. While some of the wood was petrified much of it was very recent, showing that this process of the trees being carried down had been going on for a great many thousands of years. And Cunnington adds:
"At a subsequent period Lieutenant Mecham met with a similar kind of fossil forest in Prince Patrick Island, nearly one hundred and twenty miles further north."
And yet in the actual latitudes where these trees are found nothing larger than a stunted willow
grows. No wonder the people who think the earth is solid are hard put to it to explain where these trees come from.
Nansen himself is puzzled to account for it. In the second volume of his "Farthest North" he speaks of this driftwood which is being continually found on the Greenland coast and whose presence, he says, has caused geographers to doubt if there can possibly be a solid polar ice cap--for if there were where could this wood come from? He says that even as far north as latitude 86 degrees he found such driftwood.
In an English work entitled "The Arctic World: Its Plants, Animals and Natural Phenomena" we find further corroborative evidence. The author urges further exploration of the Unknown Region, as he terms it, as the only means of solving the riddles which it presents and which are quite unexplainable according to the orthodox theories. He says:
"There are questions connected with the migrations of birds which can be elucidated only by an exploration of the Unknown Region. Multitudes which annually visit our shores in the winter and spring return in summer to far north. This is their regular custom and obviously would not have become a custom unless it had been found beneficial. Therefore,
we may assume that in the zone they frequent they find some water which is not always frozen; some land on which they can rest their weary feet; and an adequate supply of nourishing food."
From Professor Newton we adopt, in connection with this consideration, a brief account of the movements of one class of migratory birds--the Knots.
"The knot or sand-piper is something half-way between a snipe and a plover. It is a very active and graceful bird, with rather long legs, moderately long wings, and a very short tail. It swims admirably but is not often seen in the water, preferring to assemble with its fellows on the sandy sea-shores, where it gropes in the sand for food or fishes in the rock pools for some crustaceans . . . Now, in the spring the knot seeks our island (England) in immense flocks, and after remaining on the coasts for about a fort-night, can be traced proceeding gradually northwards, until finally it takes leave of us. It has been noticed in Iceland and Greenland, but not to stay; the summer there would be too rigorous for its liking, and it goes further and further north. Whither? Where does it build its nest and hatch its young? We lose all trace of it for some weeks. What becomes of it?
"Toward the end of summer back it comes to us in larger flocks than before, and both old birds and
young birds remain upon our coasts until November, or, in mild seasons, even later. Then it wings its flight to the south, and luxuriates in blue skies and balmy airs until the following spring, then it resumes the order of its migration."
Commenting upon these facts, Professor Newton infers that the lands visited by the knot in the middle of summer are less sterile than Iceland or Greenland; for certainly it would not pass over these countries, which are known to be the breeding places for swarms of water-birds, to resort to regions not so well provided with supplies of food. The food, however, chiefly depends on the climate. Wherefore we conclude that beyond the northern tracts already explored lies a region enjoying in summer a climate more genial than they possess.
This is a very remarkable corroboration of our theory. Here is a well known bird whose migrations are known in every particular except one--where does it go when it departs for the north? That has been an insoluble question, but at any rate a question which suggests that the far north is not what the scientists have supposed it to be--a barren waste. And when we add to this testimony the fact that animals also disappear in that direction in the winter, we begin to see how certain it is that there is not only a land of mild summer there but of perpetual summer.
Our author goes on to say:
"Do any races of men with which we are now unacquainted inhabit the Unknown region? Mr. Markham observes that although scarcely one-half of the Arctic world has been explored, yet numerous traces of former inhabitants have been found in wastes which are at present abandoned to silence and solitude. Man would seem to migrate as well as the inferior animals, and it is possible that tribes may be dwelling in the mysterious inner zone between the Pole and the known Polar regions."
Well, our chapter on the Eskimo would have been read with interest by the author of this work. He shows every evidence of having an open mind, and we know that any scientists of today, who are as open to conviction as this writer evidently is, will eagerly embrace our demonstration that the so-called "pole" does not exist at all.
This author also refers to the presence of the "Arctic Highlanders" in the most inaccessible regions of the north and repeats their evidence that there are herds of musk-oxen frequenting lands far to the north situated in an iceless sea. He also refers to traces of these animals actually found by European explorers in Greenland, and also the presence of Eskimos who were met with by one captain and found by a later one to have gone north when the
climate was so severe that their southern route was absolutely blocked.
The late Dr. Nicholas Senn, the well known Chicago surgeon, who is quoted in this book on the subject of the Eskimo, also corroborates the fact of birds migrating to the farthest north. He adds that even in cases of birds breeding in Greenland, the migration nevertheless takes place.
In J. W. Buel's "The World's Wonders"--in which there is a very comprehensive summary of the state of our knowledge of the Arctic regions we are told, "It is a fact that animal life is greater in the Arctic than in the tropical seas. Portions of the Arctic ocean are even colored by the abundance of small creatures that swim therein."
And Herman Dieck, in his "Marvelous Wonders of the Polar World," tells us of Lieutenant Lock-wood's frequent observations in the highest latitudes he attained with Schley. These observations included signs of foxes, hares, lemmings and ptarmigans. Hundreds of musk-oxen, too, were seen by Greely in Grinnell Land. In fact, Dieck goes so far as to say that as the explorers went north they found an "Arctic Paradise" and that the ever increasing fertility of the country would almost justify the acceptance of Symmes' "eccentric theory," as he calls it. Of course Symmes' theory was eccentric because it was merely
a piece of speculation. It did not really account for the actual conformation of the earth. But at least Symmes had enough sense to be dissatisfied with the orthodox scientific theory of his day. And had Mr. Dieck known of the theory expounded in this book he could not have failed to see in the unanimous testimony of explorers that the further north you go the more animal life there is, a complete proof that there is in the far north a great asylum of refuge where every creature can breed in peace and with plenty of food. And from that region must come also those evidences of vegetable life that explorers have 'epeatedly seen, the red pollen of plants that drifts out on favorable breezes and colors whole ice bergs and glacier sides with a ruddy tinge, those seeds and buds and branches, and, most impressive of all, those representatives of races of animals that yet live on in the interior although they have disappeared from the outside of the earth.
What a veritable paradise of animal and vegetable life that must be! And perhaps for some sort of human life also it is a land of perpetual ease and peace. The Eskimo people who are probably still living there will have been modified from the type that we see on the outer surface. Their life will be easier, they will have no cold climates and food scarcities to contend with. Like the inhabitants
of some of our tropical islands they will reflect the ease of their lives in easy-going and lovable temperaments. They will be hunters and fishers and also eaters of many fruits and other vegetable products unknown to us. When we penetrate their lands we shall find growing almost to the inner edge of the polar opening those trees of which we have seen so many drifting trunks and branches. We shall find, nesting perhaps in those trees, perhaps in the rocks around the inner polar regions the knots and swans and wild geese and ross-gulls that we have so often seen in the preceding pages, flying to the north to escape the rigors of climate which we in our ignorance have for so long supposed to be worse in the north than elsewhere.
We shall see all that when we explore the Arctic in earnest, as we shall easily be able to do with the aid of airships. And when once we have seen it we shall wonder why it was that for so long we were blind to evidence which, as is shown in this book, has been before men's eyes for practically a whole century and over.
Next: Chapter XIII. Other Interesting Animals of the Interior