Everything We Know About Lemuria: The Other Lost Continent

By Sarah Norman | February 18, 2024

Lemuria's Scholarly Start

Dive into the enthralling tapestry of history where myths intertwine with science, and legends breathe life into geological findings. Have you ever pondered about lost civilizations, sunken continents, or ancient tales that might bear a kernel of truth? Journey with us as we unravel the captivating enigma of Lemuria, a once-dismissed theory that has found startling resonance in modern-day discoveries. From the musings of 19th-century thinkers to the breakthroughs of 21st-century scientists, prepare to embark on an expedition across time and truth. Let's uncover the secrets lying deep beneath the waves and the pages of history. Welcome to the odyssey of Lemuria.

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While tales of lost continents and civilizations have pervaded our collective imagination for ages, the theory of Lemuria found its scientific foothold in the writings of British zoologist, Philip Sclater. His 1864 paper, “The Mammals of Madagascar”, was less about mysterious civilizations and more a quest for answers. Faced with a perplexing puzzle: why were certain primate fossils exclusive to Madagascar and India and conspicuously absent in regions like Africa and the Middle East?

Lemuria: The Pioneering Bridge to Humankind's Origins?

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Wikimedia Commons / Philip Lutley Sclater (left) and Ernst Haeckel.

As the whispers of Lemuria spread, eminent figures of science and literature were captivated by its allure. Among them was the illustrious German biologist, Ernst Haeckel, who, in the late 1860s, wove his own rendition of Lemuria. To Haeckel, Lemuria was more than just a lost land; it was a pivotal junction in human evolution. He speculated that this mysterious land bridged the vast expanse between Asia, considered by some as the original birthplace of humanity, and Africa. Lemuria, in Haeckel's vision, wasn't merely a conduit but perhaps "Paradise" itself, the very heart from which the pulse of humankind originated. In 1870, he wrote: 

The probable primeval home or ‘Paradise’ is here assumed to be Lemuria, a tropical continent at present lying below the level of the Indian Ocean, the former existence of which in the tertiary period seems very probable from numerous facts in animal and vegetable geography.