P. Edronkin

Let's Pay Attention To Greenland



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Greenland is one of those places of the world from which very little is known because it is not exactly attractive for business or for tourists looking for a quiet and easy vacation; indeed, many inhabitants of the giant island may be lamenting this fact, while others certainly enjoy their isolation.

But Greenland is one of those regions like Siberia, Antarctica and Patagonia: all these deserve to be explored because of the treasures hidden there: there is a well-documented case that happened during WWII in which a small squadron of B-17 bombers and P-38 fighters were flying from the United States to the United Kingdom as part of the allied war effort. In 1943 the trip from one continent and to the other was frequently made over Greenland, but in this case, the radio operator of a German submarine played a little psy-ops and interfered with the normal radio communications of the squadron and their base with the final result that the whole squad had to perform an emergency landing over the ice.

All airplanes were left brand-new and relatively intact there; the crew members were rescued, and after a couple of decades, the whole aircraft collection became very valuable; the catch is that they are several metres down, embedded into the ice created as successive layers of snow fell one over another.

And then, Greenland holds precious treasures for those studying palaeontology, for there it is possible to find rocks belonging to really ancient times, when complex life was just beginning to evolve in our planet. There is, for instance, clear evidence regarding the P-T event, which was the mother of all extinctions on Earth, when almost all life forms were wiped out of existence, long before the dinosaurs appeared, and even longer before they were obliterated during the ">K-T event.

Moreover: scientists found in Greenland some of the most valuable fossils in existence, like specimens of 'Ichtyostega,' the oldest, fully-studied and know tetrapod - animals waling on all fours -, a crossopterygian fish gone mad, which evolved four legs instead of fins. Apparently, there are even older specimens of amphibians, like this one, but so far, 'Ichtyostega' is considered the oldest vertebrate to truly live on land.

About the time that these set foot outside the water - they were the first to ever 'set foot,' curious indeed - plats began to grow over the soil, and arthropods began conquering it as well; this was a very important moment in our evolution, for reptiles and mammals evolved from these early tetrapods.

So, we should pay a little more attention to Greenland, for it has a lot of things to tell to any explorer willing to venture there.




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