Sir John Murray
Lemuria was a name invented in 1864 by the English zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater (1829-1913) to describe a hypothetical landmass in the Indian Ocean that was used to explain the isolation of lemurs on Madagascar while related fossils were spread across Africa and South-East Asia.The name has also been credited to the English geologist, William Thomas Blanford (1832-1905). It is further claimed that Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834-1919), the German professor of zoology and ardent supporter of Darwin, had made a similar suggestion regarding a sunken continent before Sclater without attributing a particular name to it.
Sir John Murray (1841-1914), a renowned British oceanographer, claimed(d) to have identified traces of this lost continent in the Indian Ocean.
Mu on the other hand is the name given to a fictional continent that was supposed to have existed in the Mid-to-Southern Pacific Ocean and given popular recognition by the writings of James Churchward who promoted it as the Atlantis of the Pacific. However, many writers continue to use the two words interchangeably. Frank Joseph links the destruction of ‘Lemuria’ with the Plagues of Egypt.
Madame Blavatsky claimed Lemuria as a pre-Atlantis source of Ancient Wisdom. She ‘revealed’ that the Lemurians had four armed egg-laying hermaphrodites with a third eye. Unfortunately, Blavatsky’s esoteric bosh is still touted widely today in books and the Internet(a).
>It is disturbing that presumably intelligent people such as Egerton Sykes could have dared to describe the inhabitants of a non-existent country in the following terms – “The Lemurians were short, squat, with square faces and large ears, relatively ugly to Western eyes”(e).<
“Several Atlantologists have claimed that Lemuria was none other than the lost island of Atlantis, and although their theory has generally considered to be fanciful, it may well be based on true facts. The word Lemuria is a bastardization of the Arab word ‘al amur’ which means ‘the West’, or ‘the western land’, and one may surmise that this was the name given by medieval Arab scholars to the ‘western land’ mentioned in the surviving Egyptian archives in Alexandria, which was stated to have disappeared under the sea. When Arabia lost its cultural predominance at the end of the Middle Ages, ‘al Amur’ became distorted into ‘Lemur’, and later into ‘Lemuria’, but the land this inaccurate name designated was in all probability the same as that described by the Egyptian priest of Sais to Solon, the ‘western land’ of Atlantis.”
Even more bizarre was a report in the 30th October 1955 edition of the San Francisco Examiner, which linked the American ‘Bigfoot’ or Sasquatch with a sunken Lemuria, suggesting that he was a highly developed survivor of that lost continent!
On a more serious note February 2013 saw the report(b) of the discovery of an ancient continent in the Indian Ocean. At first sight fans of the Mu/Lemuria concept must have been quite excited until it was realised that this sunken landmass was dated as being many hundreds of millions of years old.
In a September 2014 interview(c) Graham Hancock echoed my views regarding Lemuria and Mu when he responded to a question on the subject with, “Well, let’s get Lemuria out of the way first. Lemuria is actually a 19th century idea and there is no ancient text that refers to Lemuria. Lemuria is about the fact that fossils of a species of animal, the lemur, are found on both sides of the Indian Ocean. The suggestion was that there must have been some joining continent at one point between Madagascar and India. At any rate, I repeat, and this is my point – there’s no ancient testimony for the existence of a place called “Lemuria”. The ancient testimony from Mu is also extremely dubious, since it rests on a 19th century mistranslation of a Mayan text popularized by Augustus Le Plongeon and then subsequently elaborated by James Churchward in the 1920’s and 1930’s. But never mind the names, the fact is that we do have genuinely ancient traditions of lost civilisations and lost lands all around the world. That’s why I find Lemuria and Mu a bit of a distraction, because Mu rests on a mistranslation of an ancient text and Lemuria is entirely a 19th century idea.
>(e) Atlantis, Vol.16. No.2, April 1963<
The Mid–Atlantic Ridge (MAR)(a) was first physically located in 1872 by Sir John Murray (1841-1914), the celebrated oceanographer while investigating a route for a transatlantic telegraph cable aboard HMS Challenger.* John Thomas Short in The North Americans of Antiquity [1192.503] notes “that a member of the Challenger staff, in a lecture delivered in London soon after the termination of the expedition, expressed the fullest confidence that the great submarine plateau is the remains of the ‘Lost Atlantis’.”* (f)
Ignatius Donnelly used the discovery of the Ridge to justify his Atlantic location for Atlantis.
An overview of the surveying of the MAR during the first half of the 20th century was published in 2014(e).
However the MAR was not explored extensively until 1947 and 1948 by a team from Columbia University led by Bruce Heezen in a research vessel named Atlantis. Many commentators claimed that there is no possibility of a ‘continent’ submerged in the Atlantic. However, leaving aside whether Plato actually referred to Atlantis as a continent, the most cursory study of a bathymetric chart of the region shows a number of extensive areas that would have been dry land prior to the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. One of the most obvious is the Azores whose location opposite the most favoured location for the Pillars of Heracles has been seized upon as evidence for considering it as a possible site of Atlantis.
A number of writers, such as R. Cedric Leonard, have chosen the Mid-Atlantic Ridge location for Atlantis. Charles Hapgood opted for the Rocks of St. Peter and St. Paul on the MAR, about 1000 miles from the mouth of the Orinoco in Venezuela, as the site of Plato’s famous island.
An extensive contribution by Carolyn Silver supporting the MAR as the location of Atlantis is available online(b).
*(f) Scientific American, July 28, 1877 https://archive.org/details/scientific-american-1877-07-28/page/n1*