Was "The Flood" (i.e. the one Noah allegedly bested) real?

Scientists are beginning to suspect yes (but unicorns still aren't real.)

SCIENCE

Scientists Can No Longer Ignore Ancient Flooding Tales​

Indigenous stories from the end of the last Ice Age could be more than myth.
By Chris Baraniuk
OCTOBER 10, 2022


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It wasn’t long after Henry David Inglis arrived on the island of Jersey, just northwest of France, that he heard the old story. Locals eagerly told the 19th-century Scottish travel writer how, in a bygone age, their island had been much more substantial, and that folks used to walk to the French coast. The only hurdle to their journey was a river—one easily crossed using a short bridge.

“Pah!” Inglis presumably scoffed as he looked out across 22 kilometers of shimmering blue sea between Jersey and the French coast—because he went on to write, in his 1834 book about the region, that this was “an assertion too ridiculous to merit examination.” About 150 years earlier, another writer, Jean Poingdestre, had been similarly unmoved by the tale. No one could have trod from Jersey to Normandy, he withered, “vnlesse it were before the Flood,” referring to the Old Testament cataclysm.

Yet there had been a flood. A big one. Between roughly 15,000 and 6,000 years ago, massive flooding caused by melting glaciers raised sea levels around Europe. That flooding is what eventually turned Jersey into an island.

Rather than being a ridiculous claim not worthy of examination, perhaps the old story was true—a whisper from ancestors who really did walk through now-vanished lands. A whisper that has echoed across millennia.

That’s exactly what the geographer Patrick Nunn and the historian Margaret Cook at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia have proposed in a recent paper.

Read: Watching Venezuela’s last glacier disappear

In their work, the pair describe colorful legends from northern Europe and Australia that depict rising waters, peninsulas becoming islands, and receding coastlines during that period of deglaciation thousands of years ago. Some of these stories, the researchers say, capture historical sea-level rise that actually happened—often several thousand years ago. For scholars of oral history, that makes them geomyths.

“The first time I read an Aboriginal story from Australia that seemed to recall the rise of sea levels after the last ice age, I thought, No, I don’t think this is correct,” Nunn says. “But then I read another story that recalled the same thing.”

Nunn has since gathered 32 groups of stories from Indigenous communities around the coast of Australia that seem to refer to geological changes along shorelines.

Take the legend of Garnguur, told by the Lardil people (also known as Kunhanaamendaa) in the Wellesley Islands, off northern Australia. It describes a seagull woman, Garnguur, who cut the islands off from the mainland by dragging a giant raft, or walpa, back and forth across a peninsula. In some versions of the story, this is punishment for her brother, Crane, who failed to look after her child when asked. Nunn and Cook argue that the narrative can be taken as a memory of how, roughly 10,000 years ago, melting glaciers caused the Wellesley Islands to be cut off from the mainland. Interestingly, there is an underwater ridge between two of the Wellesley Islands—perhaps a feature of the seabed that prompted the image of Garnguur plowing her raft into the earth, the researchers suggest in their paper.

Separately, other Indigenous groups in South Australia, such as the Ngarrindjeri and the Ramindjeri, tell of a period when Kangaroo Island was once connected to the mainland. Some say it got cut off by a big storm, while others describe a line of partially submerged boulders that once allowed people to cross to the island.

For Jo Brendryen, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Bergen in Norway who has studied the effects of deglaciation in Europe following the end of the last ice age, the idea that traditional oral histories preserve real accounts of sea-level rise is perfectly plausible.

During the last ice age, he says, the sudden melting of ice sheets induced catastrophic events known as meltwater pulses, which caused sudden and extreme sea-level rise. Along some coastlines in Europe, the ocean may have risen as much as 10 meters in just 200 years. At such a pace, it would have been noticeable to people across just a few human generations.

“These stories are anecdotes, but enough anecdotes makes for data,” Brendryen explains. “By systematically collecting these kinds of memories or stories, I think you can learn something.”

Beyond capturing historical events, geomyths offer a glimpse into the inner lives of those who were there, says Tim Burbery, an expert on geomyths at Marshall University in West Virginia, who was not involved in the research: “These are stories based in trauma, based in catastrophe.”

That, he suggests, is why it may have made sense for successive generations to pass on tales of geological upheaval. Ancient societies may have sought to broadcast their warning: Beware, these things can happen!

“They would mythologize it,” Burbery adds. “They would use the language of legend, and within that, there could be some real data.”

Today, many people report a sense of eco-anxiety because of climate change and its effects, including sea-level rise. Nunn points out that our contemporary situation differs in some ways from ancient predicaments—there are many more humans on the planet and huge, densely populated coastal cities, for example. And unlike historical periods of deglaciation, we are today both the agents and victims of rapid environmental change. But vulnerability to climatic shifts allows us to feel an affinity toward our forebears. And the old stories still have things to teach us. As Nunn says, “The fact that our ancestors have survived those periods gives us hope that we can survive this.”


Chris Baraniuk is a freelance science and technology journalist based in the United Kingdom. His work has been published by the BBC, New Scientist, and Scientific American.
 

thewop

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Jun 27, 2002
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I believe Josh gates did an expedition unknown on this. As with most biblical accounts, there seems to be evidence to the affirmative, but it always falls short of proof, or disproof.
 

seminole97

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It wasn’t long after Henry David Inglis arrived on the island of Jersey, just northwest of France, that he heard the old story. Locals eagerly told the 19th-century Scottish travel writer how, in a bygone age, their island had been much more substantial, and that folks used to walk to the French coast. The only hurdle to their journey was a river—one easily crossed using a short bridge.

“Pah!” Inglis presumably scoffed as he looked out across 22 kilometers of shimmering blue sea between Jersey and the French coast—because he went on to write, in his 1834 book about the region, that this was “an assertion too ridiculous to merit examination.” About 150 years earlier, another writer, Jean Poingdestre, had been similarly unmoved by the tale. No one could have trod from Jersey to Normandy, he withered, “vnlesse it were before the Flood,” referring to the Old Testament cataclysm.
During the last ice age, he says, the sudden melting of ice sheets induced catastrophic events known as meltwater pulses, which caused sudden and extreme sea-level rise. Along some coastlines in Europe, the ocean may have risen as much as 10 meters in just 200 years. At such a pace, it would have been noticeable to people across just a few human generations.
doggerland.jpg
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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Floods are real. Boats that hold the entirety of Earth's living organisms in pairs is not.
It’s a big boat. Washed up in Kentucky of all places. All the cross species sex gave us the platypus.

Science.

That nasty F Noah gave us the Monkey Pox.

 
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It’s a big boat. Washed up in Kentucky of all places. All the cross species sex gave us the platypus.

Science.

There’s no room on there for my dinosaurs.
 

binsfeldcyhawk2

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BubsFinn

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Floods happen. Did a flood so big happen that it covered the earth and killed every animal except for one male and one female of every species, and every human except one hairy Jew and his family? I'm going to say no.
 

cigaretteman

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As others have already written, not in the way that its portrayed in the Bible. It's possible it's based upon the flooding that turned the Black Sea from a lake into a sea. Many habitations were flooded by that event.
 

Rifler

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My theory is yes, it was real, but it wasn't global,... Just a large area that was perceived to be the entire world as the current inhabitants knew it...
 

LuciousBDragon

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My theory is yes, it was real, but it wasn't global,... Just a large area that was perceived to be the entire world as the current inhabitants knew it...
What is odd is that other cultures also have a flood story passed down. Aztec’s, and other Americas indigenous peoples also have a flood narrative.
 

Jan Itor

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Was there a flood in the middle east that covered swaths of land that normally aren't underwater? Very possibly. Was there a global flood that covered every inch of land on earth? No, not even close.
You were there when said incident didn’t happen? ;)
 

Rifler

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What is odd is that other cultures also have a flood story passed down. Aztec’s, and other Americas indigenous peoples also have a flood narrative.

That's part of the reason I think there's a historic grain of truth there,.. Too many cultures telling a very similar story..
 

LuciousBDragon

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Floods occur everywhere...and they devastate communities. It's not at all odd that different cultures would weave their own stories into their mythology.
That’s exactly the point, floods happen all the time. The Egyptians relied upon a regularly flooding Nile to nourish the delta. Not really worth writing an epic about since it happens all the time.

Major, global flood is something to write about. That is what we’re discussing.
 
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Hawk_82

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What is odd is that other cultures also have a flood story passed down. Aztec’s, and other Americas indigenous peoples also have a flood narrative.

I know a lot here will discredit the article I linked, but I think there is a lot of merit to it.

The bible I'd a collection of stories that were passed on through time. They are personal accounts, so they are not going to be totally accurate, but the general idea holds true.

The article states the grand canyon was likely/possibly created over weeks.

The story of Atlantis goes back a long time. A rapid major flood that raised sea levels by up to 400 feel could have happened in less than 200 years.
 
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No, they did not all read the same book...
So it was more of a Dante’s Peak and Volcano situation where two books with a similar premise came out and then years later people started mushing the two of them. This happens man. Armageddon had Deep Impact, Paul Blart: Mall Cop had Observe and Report, Backdoor sluts 9 also had Deep Impact. The list goes on and on forever.
 
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Rifler

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So it was more of a Dante’s Peak and Volcano situation where two books with a similar premise came out and then years later people started mushing the two of them. This happens man. Armageddon had Deep Impact, Paul Blart: Mall Cop had Observe and Report, Backdoor sluts 9 also had Deep Impact. The list goes on and on forever.

Nope.
 

alaskanseminole

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I figure if you want to believe it, you can google all the evidence you need to maintain said belief.

If you want to not believe it, you can equally google all the evidence you need to maintain disbelief.
 

tarheelbybirth

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That’s exactly the point, floods happen all the time. The Egyptians relied upon a regularly flooding Nile to nourish the delta. Not really worth writing an epic about since it happens all the time.

Major, global flood is something to write about. That is what we’re discussing.
And - guess what - the Egyptians have no world-ending flood myth. How did they miss it? They do have a story of a terrible flood unleashed by Ra that destroyed their crops and caused mass death. Do you suppose there was ever a year where that was massive rainfall in the Nile river basin that led to the Nile inundating areas downriver that didn't flood every year - the areas where they grew their crops?
 
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BelemNole

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I know a lot here will discredit the article I linked, but I think there is a lot of merit to it.

The bible I'd a collection of stories that were passed on through time. They are personal accounts, so they are not going to be totally accurate, but the general idea holds true.

The article states the grand canyon was likely/possibly created over weeks.

The story of Atlantis goes back a long time. A rapid major flood that raised sea levels by up to 400 feel could have happened in less than 200 years.
Whoever wrote that doesn't know the basics of geology or geography.
 

cigaretteman

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I know a lot here will discredit the article I linked, but I think there is a lot of merit to it.

The bible I'd a collection of stories that were passed on through time. They are personal accounts, so they are not going to be totally accurate, but the general idea holds true.

The article states the grand canyon was likely/possibly created over weeks.

The story of Atlantis goes back a long time. A rapid major flood that raised sea levels by up to 400 feel could have happened in less than 200 years.
Sorry, but Graham Hancock is a loon:

Graham Bruce Hancock (/ˈhænkɒk/; born 2 August 1950) is a British author and journalist. He has become known to a general audience through his pseudoscientific theories[1][2] involving ancient civilizations; a topic on which he has published twelve books.[3]

The main thesis of Hancock's work is a proposed connection between the ancient cultures of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Mesoamerica with a previous and more advanced 'mother culture' from which he believes later ancient cultures have emanated.[4] Hancock has received considerable criticism from historical and archeological academics for his work, which has neither been peer reviewed nor published in academic journals;[5] thus an example of pseudohistory and pseudoarchaeology.[6]

Hancock describes himself as an "unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity's past".[9] Prior to 1990, his works dealt mainly with problems of economic and social development. Since 1990, his works have focused mainly on speculative connections he makes between various archaeological, historical, and cross-cultural phenomena.

His books include Lords of Poverty, The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (released in the US as Message of the Sphinx), The Mars Mystery, Heaven's Mirror (with wife Santha Faiia), Underworld: The Mysterious Origins of Civilization, and Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith (with co-author Robert Bauval). In 1996, he appeared in The Mysterious Origins of Man.[10] He also wrote and presented the documentaries Underworld: Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age (2002) and Quest for the Lost Civilisation (1998)[11] shown on Channel 4.

In Hancock's book Talisman: Sacred Cities, Secret Faith,[12] co-authored with Robert Bauval, the two put forward what sociologist of religion David V. Barrett called "a version of the old Jewish-Masonic plot so beloved by ultra-right-wing conspiracy theorists."[13] They suggest a connection between the pillars of Solomon's Temple and the Twin Towers, and between the Star of David and The Pentagon.[14] A contemporary review of Talisman by David V. Barrett for The Independent pointed to a lack of originality as well as basic factual errors, concluding that it was "a mish-mash of badly-connected, half-argued theories".[15] In a 2008 piece for The Telegraph referencing Talisman, Damian Thompson described Hancock and Bauval as fantasists.[14]

Hancock's Supernatural: Meetings With the Ancient Teachers of Mankind, was published in the UK in October 2005 and in the US in 2006. In it, Hancock examines paleolithic cave art in the light of David Lewis-Williams' neuropsychological model, exploring its relation to the development of the fully modern human mind.

In 2015, his Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth's Lost Civilization was published by St. Martin's Press.

His first novel, Entangled: The Eater of Souls, the first in a fantasy series, was published in the UK in April 2010 and in the US in October 2010. The novel makes use of Hancock's prior research interests and as he has noted, "What was there to lose, I asked myself, when my critics already described my factual books as fiction?"


Pseudoarchaeology​


In Archaeological Fantasies Garrett G. Fagan points out that pseudoarchaeologists cherry pick evidence and misrepresent known facts. When apparently factual claims in their works are investigated it turns out that "quotes are presented out of context, critical countervailing data is withheld, the state of understanding is misrepresented, or critical archaeological information about context is ignored".

Fagan gives two typical examples from Hancock's book Fingerprints of the Gods (1995):


  • Hancock claims that "the best recent evidence suggests that" large regions of Antarctica may have been ice-free until about 6,000 years ago, referring to the Piri Reis map and Hapgood's work from the 1960s. What is left entirely unmentioned are the extensive studies of the Antarctic ice sheet by George H. Denton, published in 1981, which showed the ice to be hundreds of thousands of years old.[16]
  • When discussing the ancient Bolivian city of Tiwanaku, Hancock presents it as a "mysterious site about which very little is known" and that "minimal archaeology has been done over the years", suggesting that it may date to 17,000 years ago. Yet in the years prior to these statements dozens of studies had been published, major excavations were conducted and the site was radiocarbon dated by three sets of samples to around 1500 BC.[17]
 
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