The case of the baleen whale is not unlike the discovery of hippopotami bones in the soil
of Europe. In Earth in Upheaval (pp. 28-30), Velikovsky devotes an entire section to the
hippopotamus. We are reprinting it here for comparative purposes and to redirect reader attention
to a most important subject which is treated with both keen perception and biting humor.
The hippopotamus inhabits the larger rivers and marshes of Africa; it is not found in
Europe or America save in zoological gardens where specimens of it wallow most of the time in
pools, submerging their huge bodies in muddy water. Next to the elephant it is the largest of the
land animals. Bones of hippopotami are found in the soil of Europe as far north as Yorkshire in
Lyell gave the following explanation for the presence of the hippopotamus in Europe:
"The geologist . . . may freely speculate on the time when herds of hippopotami issued
from North African rivers, such as the Nile, and swam northward in summer along the coasts of
the Mediterranean, or even occasionally visited islands near the shore. Here and there they may
have landed to graze or browse, tarrying awhile, and afterwards continuing their course
northward. Others may have swum in a few summer days from rivers in the south of Spain or
France to the Somme, Thames, or Severn [river in Wales and England], making timely retreat to
the south before the snow and ice set in."*
[* Charles Lyell, Antiquity of Man (1863),p. 180.]
An Argonaut expedition of hippopotami from the rivers of Africa to the isles of Albion
sounds like an idyll.
In the Victorian cave near Settle, in west Yorkshire, 1450 feet above sea level, under
twelve feet of clay deposit containing some well-scratched boulders, were found numerous
remains of the mammoth, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, bison, hyena, and other animals.
In northern Wales in the Vale of Clwyd, in numerous eaves remains of the hippopotamus
lay together with those of the mammoth, the rhinoceros, and the cave lion. In the cave of Cae
Gwyn in the Vale of Clwyd, "during the excavations it became clear that the bones had been
greatly disturbed by water action." The floor of the cavern was "covered afterwards by clays and
sand containing foreign pebbles. This seemed to prove that the caverns, now 400 feet [above sea
level] must have been submerged subsequently to their occupation by the animals and by man....
The contents of the cavern must have been dispersed by marine action during the great
submergence in mid-glacial times, and afterwards covered by marine sands . . ." writes H. B.
[* H. B. Woodward. Geology of England and Wales (2nd ed.; 1887), P. 543.]
Hippopotami not only traveled during the summer nights to England and Wales, but also
climbed-hills to die peacefully among other animals in the caves, and the ice, approaching softly,
tenderly spread little pebbles over the travelers resting in peace, and the land with its hills and
caverns in a slow lullaby movement sank below the level of the sea and gentle streams caressed
the dead bodies and covered them with rosy sand.
Three assumptions were made by the exponents of uniformity: Sometime not long ago the
climate of the British Isles was so warm that hippopotami used to visit there in summer; the
British Isles subsided so much that caves in the hills became submerged; the land rose again to its
present height – and all this without any action of a violent nature.
Or was it, perchance, a mountain-high wave that crossed the land and poured into the
caves and filled them with marine sand and gravel? Or did the ground submerge and then emerge
again in some paroxysm of nature in which the climate also changed? Did the animals run away
at the sign of the approaching catastrophe, and did the trespassing sea follow and suffocate them
in the caves that were their last refuge and became the place of their burial? Or did the sea sweep
them from Africa, throw them in heaps on the British Isles and in other places, and cover them
with earth and marine debris? The entrances to some caves were too narrow and the caves
themselves too "shrunk" (contracted) to have been places of refuge for such huge animals as
hippopotami and rhinoceroses. Whichever of these answers or surmises is correct, and whether
the hippopotami lived in England or were thrown there by the ocean, whether they sought refuge
in caves or the caves are but their graves, their bones on the British Isles, as also on the bottom
of the seas surrounding these islands, are signs of some great natural change. (Reprinted from
Earth In Upheaval,
Doubleday & Co.)