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A THEORY "DISCUSSED. The theory of the existence in past ages' of a ' sub-Ahtarbtic continoiit comiecting New Zealand witlv outlying islands, was discussed by Dr Oliilton at the meeting of the Canterburj' Philosophical Institute, in the light of fj-esh, facts discovered by the expedition to the soutlhern islands which set out about 18 monthis ago. The title of the lecture was "The Distribution of the Sub-Antarc-tic Flora and Fauna," and the remarks- of the lecturer were preceded by- the showing of a series of lantern, slide's" o| ; the different types of animals,'birds, insects, and vegetation found on. the islands in the circumpolar regions. .' In "the course of liis lecture Dr Chilfon said that there was a great unity in the flora' and fauna of the islands! There were a large number of forms that were circum-polar in distribution. In many oases the actual species, and in other cases the gen<2ra, were confined to those regions, ivihile in some of the islands certain forms were found there and nowhere else. Two explanations were giveai for that distributitfn. The first was that the great continents had always remained pretty much as they were now, and that the forms of life undor discussion had arisen probably in the northern hemisphere and spread to the centre. As further forms developed, tihose- earlier forms were gradually pushed down until they were able to continue to_exdE.t only in tihe southern, extremities oi the "great continents. The other tiheory was that the islands . on wliich the forms were found formed part of a sub- Antarctic continent;. Tliat was the jopinion of geologista, and the formis of life found on .the is^ lands' also supported the theory. The f act tOiat there was an Antarctic continently; had been definitely proved by tho.: results of tihe various polai expeditions. It had also been proved that. at some time the polar regions "enjoyed a milder climate, and thea-e had, been discovered fossil plants, oi the early tertiai-y age, containing a number of forms closely allied to tllose found in Australia and New Zealand, and the theory, was. that maaij 7 of the forms found on. .the islands at -the present time were the reinainis of fomis -which developed probably on the sub-Antarctic continent, and the various islands must have .been connected with the continent..:'. As the .climate became .coldeir the different forms o-f life were killed off onithe Antarctic continent, buf continued to live on in the sub-An-tarctic islands. -'-.'•■. Dr Oockayne said he thoroughly believed in the existence of an old sub-Antarctic continent, and some six or seven years- ago had pubUshed that . conclusion. The facts discovered by the expedition had gone to support the tiheory.

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Bibliographic details

SUB-ANTARCTIC CONTINENT., Colonist, Volume LI, Issue 12641, 11 September 1909

Word Count

SUB-ANTARCTIC CONTINENT. Colonist, Volume LI, Issue 12641, 11 September 1909