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THE MERRELL BLOG: WHAT'S NOW. WHAT'S NEXT. LET'S GET OUTSIDE.

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Origins

Dallas, Antarctica

Researchers recently found evidence that a billion years ago, before Pangaea, there was another Pangaea.

You know Pangaea—the supercontinent, a single landmass, that connected all of our continents on Earth? Turns out there was an even older Pangaea and her name was Rodinia.

So it looks like a piece of Antarctica used to sit right next to Texas. You could have spied icebergs from the Alamo, or leapt over a ridge and feel the temperature drop 100 degrees. George W. might have accidentally shot his vice-president while hunting penguins. OK, yes, these might not have happened and there was no “Texas” or “Antarctica” before, say, recent human history. But none of us were there to say otherwise, so let’s keep our imaginations on for a minute.

While I do like to picture what that would mean for today’s world, saving airfare for polar excursions and all, this is a good time to remember that the face, climate, and content of the land would have been very different 1.1 billion years ago—a rather necessary reminder that our landscape is changing around us every day.

But it also brings to mind a sense of connected lands, of through-ways, of endless paths. That’s a fantasy that we still hold on to--the mystery of an ancient and untouched landscape. Imagine traversing thousands of miles, wilderness on all sides. The promise of open space. It would be a golden age for explorers: walking forever on an endless landmass. Passing forest and stream, looking out over a new panorama of continents. We would all adapt to have giant tree trunk legs and leathery feet to manage long journeys. I would play Kevin Costner’s foil lead in the poorly reviewed but well-attended blockbuster Earthworld.

As much as I like to romanticize her, Pangaea would be no fun for beach-goers. And Rodinia probably doesn’t have a Rocky Mountains. So I will keep the flame of endless space alive in today’s outdoors, one foot at a time.

But come ON how cool would giant tree trunk legs be?!

For a newly mapped world,

KK

8/10/2011
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