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Researchers? How could hippos’ bones be found on islands if they can’t swim?

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bone fragments of ancient hippopotamus/Lethaia

From ScienceDaily:

Experts say that widely accepted models for the methods, patterns, and timing of the colonization and dispersal to several islands (e.g. Cyprus, Crete, and Madagascar) may need to be reconsidered.

“Although land bridge connections between these islands and the mainland are not currently supported by positive geological evidence, neither is there any contradictory evidence to exclude it,” said Dr. Paul Mazza, author of a Lethaia article on the topic.

Yes, but to assume a land bridge existed (absent geological evidence) because hippos lived on an island is a leap too far, as the authors seem to realize.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG

They deserve credit for not just asserting a land bridge. Just as the good can be the enemy of the best, the easy explanation can be the enemy of the correct one. Literally, if a correct explanation comes along later but a party has formed to defend the easy one. 😉

For better science, it has to be okay to say we just don’t know right now.

For one thing, is it really true that hippos can’t swim?

This one seems to be swimming. But could it swim a long distance?

Here’s the abstract:

Owing to their aquatic lifestyle, hippopotamuses are normally believed to have reached islands by swimming. Yet, some studies suggest they cannot swim due to their relatively high density. If so, this raises the question of how hippopotamuses would have reached some islands. Their immigration into the British Isles, Sicily, Malta, Zanzibar and Mafia can be accounted for, because these islands sit on continental shelves and were often linked to the mainland during the Pleistocene glacio-eustatic sea-level falls. In contrast, their occurrence in Crete, Cyprus and Madagascar would be more difficult to explain. Available geological evidence does not seem to rule out that the latter islands might have been connected with the nearest mainland areas in very recent times. This study intends to consider possibilities about how hippopotamuses reached islands and to show that more effective collaboration is required among specialists involved with the study of insular evolution, colonization and speciation.

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(stunned silence) I was just having some fun. ;-) -Q Querius
But see, you need to start thinking like a Darwinist. There were no planes then, and the geology doesn't provide you with any "positive geological evidence" as Dr. Mazza put it. So you speculate on what *musta* happened, just like Darwinism. In this case, it's one word. Legumes. Before they embarked on their migration, they musta tanked up on massive quantities of legumes. Then they musta got that little tail of theirs tucked up tight as their digestion gases swelled them up, reducing their body density into the range of positive bouyancy. Trade winds musta blown them toward the those islands and what happened afterwards musta scared off any large preditors. ;-) It's soooo easy! -Q Querius
If you watch the video, you will see that the hippo bounces off of the bottom quite often. Its almost as if he is walking on the moon. The suggestion appears to be that hippos are just slightly heavier than water, so sink, but very slowly. They could, therefore, kick off of the bottom and bounce to the surface for air. However, as the water gets over some magical depth, probably 15 to 20 feet, they would no longer be able to get up for air. Hence the problem. The question I would ask, however, is -- are there any buoyant hippos? I know that people have variable buoyancy, mostly based upon fat levels. Could it be that particularly obese hippos could swim? Moose Dr
I've suggested elsewhere that the area be searched for evidence of humans. That's the most likely way the bones got there, if hippos truly cannot swim. News
I think it's obvious that there was moe than one ark. That's why the one we know about was called Noah's ark and not just the ark. Mung
Clearly, the problem for theorists lies in their ignorance of hippo swimming endurance. This calls for serious scientific research. I propose the National Science Foundation begin a H-Prize for hippo swimming. Animal trainers can bring their best hippos to a lake which is more than 10 feet deep, and prizes awarded for 1/4 mile, 1 mile, 5 mile and 10 mile distances. Trainers can ride in a boat and do anything but provide floatation aids to their prize hippos. Sort of the same rules as swimming the English Channel. After all, if you can have camel races, why not hippos? Robert Sheldon
Maybe they crash landed an airplane? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5USLvy_9fcM ...just as good of an explanation?... :P Flashback: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060425091449.htm Excerpt: "Date: April 25, 2006 Source: The Research Council of Norway Summary: The somewhat rough uncovering of Norway's first dinosaur happened in the North Sea, at an entire 2256 metres below the seabed. While most nations excavate their skeletons using a toothbrush, the Norwegians found one using a drill. The fossil represents the world's deepest dinosaur finding." JGuy

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