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A Day and Night of Brahma: The Evidence from Fossil Records (cont.)
By Bibhu Dev Misra (IIT, IIM)

The presence of enhanced levels of iridium in the soil layers at the geological boundaries, as well as the discovery of impact craters on the earth that match with the extinction periodicity, have led scientists to propose that the extinction events have been triggered by large body impacts from outer space, possibly from periodic comet showers. As per the popular 'Nemesis' hypothesis, our sun may have a binary companion, which periodically disturbs the comets in the spherical Oort cloud that surrounds the Solar System, triggering a cometary incursion into the inner Solar System. However, a binary companion of the sun has not been found till date, in spite of extensive sky surveys. There are suggestions that the binary companion may be a 'brown dwarf' or a 'black hole' which cannot be easily detected in sky surveys. However, many scientists believe that the proposed orbit of the hypothetical binary companion is far too elliptical and unstable to account for the mass extinction events. The Nemesis hypothesis, as result, is gradually losing credibility within scientific circles.

The explanations for the mass extinction phenomenon provided in the ancient texts have been couched in mysterious symbolisms that have been impossible to decode. The Mahabharata tells us that “a fire from the mouth of the underground serpent will burn the lower worlds, then the surface of the earth, and will set the atmosphere ablaze. This mass of fire will burn with a great noise. Surrounded by these circles of fire, all animate and inanimate objects will be destroyed.” Similar accounts have been preserved by the Nordic people of Ragnarok, the final destruction of the world. They believe that during Ragnarok, 'Jörmungandr, the Midgard serpent, will rise from the deep ocean bed to proceed towards the land, twisting and writhing in fury on his way, causing the seas to rear up and lash against the land. The stars will come adrift from the sky and the giant sun will set the entire earth on fire; the universe will become an immense furnace. All living things, all plant life, will be blotted out.'

These descriptions seem to suggest a cosmic catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. But the exact nature of this phenomenon still eludes us. What is certain, however, is this: the ancients were aware of the mass extinction events that are recorded in the fossil history of the earth, as well as the cosmic phenomenon that triggers these periodic catastrophic destructions. And this information has been transmitted down to us for uncounted millennia, couched in various mysterious symbols, myths and metaphors. It is now up to us to decode this information.

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