The Lost Continent of Zealandia
A True Atlantis, Zealandia Sank Beneath the Sea
The eighth continent really existed for over 100 Million Years!
New Zealand and New Caledonia are all that remain of a lost eighth continent, now known to science as Zealandia.
But at the time Zealandia was above water, what is now New Zealand’s South Island was positioned to the east of North Island, with its current southwest tip pointing to the northeast. It swung around to its current location with the continental plates long after the rest of Zealandia was lost beneath the briny waves.
Schoolchildren often imagine with wonder how islands are really the tops of underwater mountains. But in this case, the island nations of New Zealand and New Caledonia aren’t the tops of individual marine volcanoes; they are actually the highest parts of a continent half the size of Australia that contained its own species of land plants and air-breathing animals reaching back to the time of the Early Cretaceous, when Titanosaurs like this Saltasauras left their footprints as they grazed on the vegetation of Zealandia and co-existed with other exotic species known only by small fossil fragments.
More interesting to me is the fact that much of land remained above the waves until “only” about 25 million years ago, meaning the dinosaurs had nearly 20 Million years to evolve into unique species after Zealandia separated from Australia, and some 40 Million more years followed their extinction, when unknown lifeforms replaced them and continued to evolve on what is now the lost continent of Zealandia.
This BBC article reveals fascinating details about 400-year search to find the predicted “eighth continent” once thought to be hiding somewhere between Australia and South America, and the modern scientists who eventually found out what happened to it.