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A World With One Season I
by Dwardu Cardona

Part I

INTRODUCTION

The paper I am about to read is based on the Saturn thesis which, bizarre as it may seem,  claims that Earth was once a satellite of the planet Saturn. It is further claimed that this Saturnian system was originally extraneous to the present Solar System even during the advent of mankind. In other words, what is claimed is that man evolved into the being he presently is while in the presence of a sun other than the present one at a time when Earth was still traveling with its proto-Saturnian primary in space outside the present Solar System. Saturn was, at that time, a brown dwarf star of larger mass which generated its own heat and light. It was this brown dwarf star that first acted as the sun of humankind. And whereas the heat radiated by this proto-Saturnian star was of a lesser amplitude than that disseminated by our present Sun, Earth still basked in a warm climate due to its close proximity to its former primary.

It is also claimed that Earth did not orbit proto-Saturn in the same manner in which it now orbits the Sun, and that, in fact, it did not orbit proto-Saturn at all. On the contrary, Earth was situated directly “beneath” proto-Saturn’s south pole in such a way that both bodies shared the same axis of rotation. As seen from Earth, the Saturnian sun was not seen to rise or set, but remained perpetually fixed in one place, that place being Earth’s north celestial pole, the same place that is now occupied by the North Star. This also means that Earth did not experience the succession of day and night—that, in effect, it was always day.

What all this additionally entails is that Earth would not then have experienced a succession of seasons but that, on the contrary, it would have enjoyed a single, non-variable, spring-like climate.

THE NATURE OF SEASONS

At present, the seasons are caused by the inclination of Earth’s axis to the plane of the ecliptic. This means that not all of Earth’s latitudes receive the same amount of direct radiation from the Sun at all times. Summer arrives in the northern hemisphere because Earth’s axis during that time tilts the north pole toward the Sun (closest during summer solstice). In winter, it is the south pole that is tilted toward the Sun (closest during winter solstice). In between, during the equinoxes, both hemispheres receive the same amount of solar radiation because Earth’s axis points neither toward nor away from the Sun. Needless to say, in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are reversed, with summer coming in winter, autumn coming in spring, winter in summer, and spring in autumn. But, while all this is astronomically true, it is not necessarily always apparent down here on Earth. Thus, the fourfold seasonal division of the year can seldom be recognized in the annual cycle itself.

In the Western World, the seasons have been calculated in accordance with the yearly cycle of cultivated plants: Winter as the season of dormancy, spring as that of sowing, summer as that of growth, and fall, or autumn, as that of harvest. However, as we all know, spring and fall are merely transitional periods. Winter and summer are the only two seasons that have a distinctly extreme difference. Beyond that, seasonal temperatures pay no attention to the inclination of Earth’s axis. Parts of spring can be as cold or as warm as winter or summer, as so, also, can parts of autumn. Climate depends on shifting winds, themselves reliant on the evaporation of water, as also on the particular topography of the land.

This is especially true in tropical latitudes where seasonal differences in weather depend on the shifting wind belts where the alteration of rainy and dry days is more important than temperature. Nor do these rainy and dry seasons necessarily correspond with winter and summer. In fact, places close to the equator can experience two rainy seasons and two dry seasons per year. The length and intensity of these rainy and dry seasons also depends on the relief of the land and exposure to winds from different directions.

The Rotumans, living on a small island near the equator, reckon the passage of time in periods of six months, or moons. Changes of temperature there are but slight, with the difference of seasons barely perceptible. Not only can the natives observe no change of season, the vegetation itself is not materially affected throughout the year. So, likewise, in the Kingsmill Islands, also known as the Gilbert Islands, situated directly beneath the equator, where the natives reckon their “year” as a period of ten months without any reference to seasons.

It can thus be seen that, while the official seasons are tied to the astronomical calendar, actual seasonal variations, climates, and temperatures are not entirely dependent on Earth’s axial tilt. All of which raises the question: Are seasons necessary for the propagation and sustenance of life?

THE GOD OF SEASONS

On an Earth bathed in perpetual light, bereft of the succession of day and night, with a radiating warmth reflecting uniformly, or quasi-uniformly, on all parts of the globe, our world could only have experienced a single season. The evidence for whether this was ever so can only be found here on Earth. But, before delving into that, because seasons would eventually have come about, our reconstruction of these primeval events demands that man should have retained a memory of a world with but one season and that he should also have connected the arrival of the four seasons with the Saturnian deity man had been wont to venerate since time immemorial. Can this demand be met?

We note, for starters, that the association of the word “season” with Saturn is discernible in Latin. In fact, the English word “season” is itself ultimately derived, through a meandering route of associated European words, from the Latin sationem, accusative satio, that is “sowing.” According to the ancients themselves, it was this word, satio, and or satus, that is “seed,” from which the name of Saturn—i.e., Saturnus—was derived. And it is this, among other matters, which ended up casting Saturn as a god of agriculture.

There is, in fact, no doubt that, in the minds of the Romans who venerated him, the four seasons were absent during the god’s reign, at which time the world basked in the glory of but one season. Thus, in describing Saturn’s Golden Age, Ovid spoke of mankind as having been “content with foods that grew without cultivation” in “a season of everlasting spring.” It was only after Saturn’s reign had come to an end that the springtime “which had prevailed of old” was shortened while “a cycle of four seasons in the year, winter, summer, changeable autumn, and a brief spring” was instituted. And was it not because of this that Janus, whom the ancients themselves identified as Saturnus, was deified inter alia as the god of the seasons?

It was no different in the New World where the Peruvian Kon Tiki Viracocha was believed to have been the “guiding power in regulating the seasons” which seasons were actually ordained by him.

Further north in Arizona, the Indians of Oraibi venerated a god called Machito who, like the Saturnian deity of other races, existed at a time when “there was no sun, no moon, and no stars,” but before the appearance of the seasons. In fact, it was after Machito had produced the Sun, together with the Moon and the stars, that he “appointed times and seasons.”

Much more can be said but, at this point, I must stop because we are now encroaching on the era of Saturn’s Golden Age which actually came much later than the time I wish to concentrate upon.

PHOTOPERIODISM

One objection that might be raised against the hypothesis I am here presenting has to do with photoperiodism,  which is not to be confused with photosynthesis. Photoperiodism is the response of organisms to the duration of light and darkness generated by the succession of day and night. It should however be noted right from the start that temperature, nutrition, and environmental factors can greatly modify this response. Also, closely related varieties of species can, and do, respond differently to identical photoperiodic conditions due to inherited differences in their make-up.

When it comes to fauna, the most conspicuous activities correlated to photoperiodism consist of changes in pelage and/or plumage, the migratory instincts of birds, and the reproductive process, each of which occurs with marked regularity at a particular time each year. When animals held in captivity are subjected to artificial lighting conditions which mimic a day-night succession that is different from the natural one, reproduction, bird migration, and other activities can be induced out of season. This seems to prove that such activities are regulated by the changing daily periods of light and darkness—in other words by the succession of the seasons.

Changes in physiological responses, such as change in breeding season, occurs in certain birds and mammals when transported from a southern to a northern latitude and/or vice versa. And yet, in equatorial regions, where day lengths are constant, mammals and birds continue to breed, change their plumage, and migrate as if the day lengths actually varied. Do they then keep count of the days? Can they keep time? Or is it that they have adapted so well to their environment that their physiology changes without response to photoperiodism? To be sure, studies of certain species of birds failed to show any influence of light on their reproductive cycle. Would animals not breed had there been no succession of day and night? Would they stop breeding in an environment of perpetual light and an everlasting spring? Or would they adapt?

The flowering of plants, the formation of roots, runners, tubers, and bulbs are also controlled by photoperiodism. Not all plants, however, react the same way. Short-day plants, for instance, fail to flower when days exceed a certain duration; long-day plants fail to flower unless days exceed a certain duration. The critical day lengths for these plants, moreover, differ widely not only from species to species but also among varieties of the same species. Other plants flower regardless of day lengths.

Red light, meanwhile, can prevent the flowering of short-day plants while promoting that of long-day ones. However, the inhibition of flowering by short-day plants through red light can be prevented by the inclusion of red light of greater wave length (or what is known as far-red). Since Saturn is here posited to have been a brown dwarf star, its propensity of red light, mainly in the far-red, which brown dwarfs are known to propagate, would therefore have been conducive to plant growth.     

On the other hand, as every gardener knows, some flowers close up at night and re-open when the Sun comes up. What, then, would have happened to such plants attempting to thrive in a world where the succession of day and night was replaced by a perpetual day? The answer is quite simple: Had such plants existed at the time, they would have had to adapt to their environment as others have done, and continue to do, in the present world.

But then theories, especially those based on mythology, are a dime a dozen. So the question that needs to be asked at this point boils down to this: Is there any hard evidence, right here on Earth, which indicates that such a situation ever prevailed?

THE SUB-TROPICAL ARCTIC

As early as the nineteenth century it was “admitted by all scientific authorities that at one time the regions within the Arctic Circle enjoyed a tropical or nearly tropical climate.” These words were written in 1885 by William Warren in his attempt to prove that man’s original Paradise had been located at Earth’s north polar region. He did not assert this as merely his say-so; he named authorities and quoted from them.

“The Arctic regions, probably up to the North Pole, were not only free from ice, but were covered with a rich and luxuriant vegetation.”

 “One of the most startling and important of the scientific discoveries of the last twenty years has been that of the relics of a luxuriant Miocene flora in various parts of the Arctic regions. It is a discovery which was totally unexpected, and is even now considered by many men of science to be completely unintelligible…”

 “In the early Tertiary period the climate of the northern hemisphere, as shown by the Eocene animals and plants, was very much hotter than it is at present; partaking, indeed, of a sub-tropical character. In the Middle Tertiary or Miocene epoch the temperature, though not high, was still much warmer than that now enjoyed by the northern hemisphere; and we know that the plants of the temperate regions at that time flourished within the Arctic Circle.”

“One thing at least is certain, that till a very recent period, geologically speaking, our earth enjoyed a warm and genial climate up to the actual poles themselves, and that all its vegetation was everywhere evergreen, of much the same type as that which now prevails in the modern tropics.”

Even Charles Lyell, the very proponent of the uniformitarian principle, was compelled to write:

“The result…of our examination…of the organic and inorganic evidence as to the state of the climate of former geological periods is in favor of the opinion that the heat was generally in excess of what it now is. In the greater part of the Miocene and preceding Eocene epochs the fauna and flora of Central Europe were sub-tropical, and a vegetation resembling that now seen in Northern Europe extended into the Arctic regions as far as they have yet been explored, and probably reached the Pole itself. In the Mesozoic ages the predominance of reptile life and the general character of the fossil types of that great class of vertebrata indicate a warm climate and an absence of frost between the 40th parallel of latitude and the Pole…”

And yet, seeing as so much has been discovered since the nineteenth century, can we still adhere to these conclusions?

More so than ever.

THE CANADIAN HIGH ARCTIC

The Canadian island of Axel Heiberg, in Nunavut, well above the Arctic Circle, well beyond the present tree line, is littered with the remains of ancient forests—stumps, logs, and remnants of leaves and even fruit. Although the relics of such forests are known from other parts of the world, those on Axel Heiberg are exceptional because, unlike other remains, they have not been petrified. On the contrary, the remains have maintained their original form and even tissue. The retrieved wood still splits and splinters and can be carved with a sharp knife. It burns as good as modern wood. It has even retained the hue of soft lumber. Not only trees have been preserved, but also leaf mats the likes of which one finds on the ground in modern forests. Barren, gaunt, and forbidding as the island now is, its rolling hills bear the traces of more than twenty separate forest layers, stacked on top of each other, all of which are found in situ, testifying to growth on the spot rather than transmission by the forces of nature. The age between each individual forest layer, which consist of sediment a few meters in thickness, has been calculated to be anything from a few hundred to thousands of years.

As James Basinger noted, these vestiges point to “a lengthy warm spell during the Eocene epoch…when mean annual polar temperatures ranged from seven to 15˚ C.”

 “Tall trees not unlike the towering redwoods of the Pacific Northwest—and genetically similar to birch, alder and swamp cypress—grew beside a meandering river delta hundreds of kilometers wide. Some of these giants were 35 m high, with stumps 2.5 m around, and appear to have lived for as long as 1,000 years.”

The problem that has been facing paleobotanists is how such forests could have thrived in a latitude which at present would have forced them to “sleep” through the long polar night. As Art Johnson, who has been studying these remains, noted: “We have no forests on Earth where the trees are so big and have to sit in the dark for three months.”

Axel Heiberg Island is not the only area in Canada’s High Arctic where the remains of ancient forests have been found. The coal-bearing sediments of the Eureka Sound Group scattered throughout most of the Arctic Archipelago also contain such remains. Plants dated to the Paleocene from the Fosheim Peninsula of Ellesmere Island resemble similar Paleocene flora from Western Canada’s interior, indication of a cosmopolitan temperate zone. Some of the plants from these Tertiary forests have been described as being akin to those growing in the present cypress swamps of Florida. Trees from the middle Eocene in the same area reached up to 50 meters high.

The fossils of animals found buried amid the remains of these forests—ancestors of the horse and rhinoceros, giant lizards, land tortoises, salamanders, snakes, alligators, crocodiles, flying lemurs—all testify to the warmth of the climate at that time, as so does the discovery of fossil palm trees and huge exotic ferns by Soviet paleobotanists in the islands of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago far within the Arctic Circle. Even fossil tapirs, the descendants of which now live in the equatorial Amazon forest, were found on Ellesmere Island. As Ian Johnson (not to be confused with Art Johnson, cited above) noted, finding the tropics in such high latitudes raises serious implications for paleontologists:

“This far from the equator means 4 months of polar darkness…If the night temperature was always 10 degrees Celsius, in conjunction with 4 months of darkness, plants would die…Crocodiles, lizards and turtles are well adapted to forest life but some of the discovered species [the crocodilians] cannot tolerate near freezing temperatures for very long. This implies that there had to be considerable warmth in the Eocene High Arctic all throughout the year.”

And:

“Crocodilians are a test of the reconstructed polar forest community because they have changed little since the end of the Triassic…the crocodilians have been consistent throughout their long evolutionary history in their limited tolerance of the cold. Crocodilia have never occupied ecological niches where near-freezing cold persists continuously for months.”

The scientific establishment, meanwhile, has not been entirely silent when it comes to propositions concerning the solution of the puzzle which the one-time existence of these Arctic forests raise. Thus, for instance, writers in New Scientist proposed that the Arctic Eocene’s subtropical climate can be explained if the oceans transported far more heat to the poles than they do at present. But evidence of the atmospheric circulation required for this, which depends on temperature differential, is lacking. Moreover, the small size of particles retrieved from Eocene deep-sea sediments confirm the lack of wind speeds at that time.

Continental drift must also be ruled out because Axel Heiberg Island is “only a few hundred kilometres closer to the North Pole than it was when the forests flourished”—which is definitely not enough for it to have been located outside the Arctic Circle at that time.

Leo Hickey claims to have returned from his 1979 field season with fossil leaf fragments one of which measured two feet in width. Gigantic leaves are known to develop when plants are grown under constant lighting conditions. Thus, his conclusion was that these forests “grew under conditions of continuous light.”

Curt Teichert was honest enough to admit that “attempts to explain rapid climatic changes throughout the Tertiary have been ‘especially vexing and unsatisfactory’.” As D. H. Campbell wrote: “It is difficult to imagine any possible conditions of climate in which these plants could grow so near the pole, deprived of sunlight for many months of the year.” Or, as David Mech was forced to conclude, the causes behind such a radical different climate “remain a mystery.”

But consider now: If Earth had basked beneath Saturn’s constant radiation rather than that emitted by our present rising and setting Sun, these forests would not have had to “sit in the dark for three [or four] months” of the year; they would not have had to “sleep” through the long polar night. The Saturnian sun would have supplied the required heat, and would have done so continuously.

Scientific consensus, meanwhile, favors a dimmer sun during Earth’s past geologic ages. Could not this dimmer sun have been the Saturnian sun which later greeted man’s appearance on Earth?

FROM POLE TO POLE AND IN BETWEEN

I have been stressing the discoveries in the Canadian High Arctic but, if the truth is to be known, similar evidence is available from other parts of the northern hemisphere. Oswald Heer described 2,632 Arctic plant species, 1,627 of which were actually discovered by him. In his seven-volume epic on the subject, published between the years 1868 and 1883, Heer stressed the luxuriant plant life that thrived during the Tertiary in northern polar regions. Among those that grew in Greenland, he noted magnolias and fig trees. Similarly in Spitsbergen where he noted the Tertiary thriving of such trees as pines, firs, spruces, cypresses, elms, hazels, and even water lilies. Forests which once flourished in Spitsbergen have left seams of coal from twenty-five to thirty feet thick. Fossil specimens of fig palms and the giant Redwood, which now grow in California, have been retrieved from an area stretching from the Bering Strait to north of Labrador. Fossil corals, which can only grow in tropical waters, were also discovered there in large formations. Corals, in fact, grew all over polar North America—in Alaska, Canada, and even in Greenland.

The same situation is evident at the opposite end of the world in the freezing regions of Antarctica. Early in the twentieth century, E. H. Shackleton discovered seven seams of coal at about latitude 85˚, each of which was between three and seven feet thick, testimonials to ancient forests which once grew where now not a single tree, not even a blade of grass, can grow. The coal seams that run through the Transantarctic Mountains are some of the most extensive on Earth. Sandstone, associated with this coal, was found to contain petrified coniferous wood. Fossils from the Pliocene include well-preserved wood in the form of tree stems as well as roots together with the remains of marine life. In 1935, Admiral Byrd could write that: “Here at the southernmost known mountain in the world, scarcely two hundred miles from the South Pole, was found conclusive evidence that the climate of Antarctica was once temperate or even sub-tropical.”

The Eocene evidence of vast forests in the Antarctic has been attributed to a paleolatitude which was close to that of present Madagascar, while Antarctica is supposed to have still been drifting toward the pole. Continental drift can therefore be used to solve the mystery by those who adhere to this belief. Melvin Cook, however, is of a different opinion. According to his findings, Antarctica “appears not to have moved appreciably in continental shift” since the continents which were once in contact with it “left Antarctica in radial directions,” thus leaving it more or less in the same locality. Besides, as we have seen, the problem also involves the Arctic regions where, even according to orthodoxy, continental drift cannot save the day. But the enigma entails more than just Earth’s polar regions; it also embraces the latitudes in between. Thus, from early in the twentieth century, many paleobotanists were convinced that “during by far the greater portion of time since the Azoic era, mild, benign climatic conditions have existed.” According to Dolph Hooker:

“It is also the concensus [sic.] that, astonishingly and inexplicably, such conditions were comparatively uniform over most of Earth’s surface; that temperate climate extended both north and south to within the polar circles. It is also believed that, amazingly, seasonal effects during most of geological time have been much less pronounced than they are now.”

Writing in 1912, F. H. Knowlton stated that:

 “Relative uniformity, mildness and comparative equability of climate, accompanied by high humidity, have prevailed over the greater part of the Earth, extending to or into polar circles, during the greater part of geologic time since at least the Middle Paleozoic. This is the regular, the ordinary, the normal condition.”

By 1953, this belief was still in vogue as exemplified by a paper published by Edwin Colbert in which he wrote:

“So far as past climates can be interpreted from the record of fossil vertebrates, it would appear that during much of Earth history the world has enjoyed uniformly warm, equable climate over most of its surface…the general picture of past vertebrate life is that of warmth-loving animals living over wide ranges of latitude, from the southern tips of the continental land masses through the middle latitudes to regions as far north as the Arctic Circle.”

According to Colbert, “the definitely zoned climatic belts, so familiar to us at the present time, apparently did not exist.” Moreover, this situation prevailed from long before the Tertiary period as Elso Barghoorn indicated: “From the paleontological evidence available, it would appear that there was very slight climatic zonation between high and low latitudes during the major part of the Carboniferous.”

There was thus an added problem that confronted paleobotanists. How could Earth’s polar regions been blessed with a sub-tropical climate while the rest of the world remained little, if at all, warmer than it is at present? As Barbara Bell admitted: “It is by no means clear that solar radiation sufficiently intense to keep the poles as warm as they appear to have been at times would not heat the tropics more than observations indicate.”

THE CRETACEOUS CLIMATE

As we have seen, continental drift cannot be made to account for the sub-tropical fauna and flora of the Tertiary period, the remains of which are now found within the Arctic Circle, for the simple reason that the Arctic regions were already close to their present location at the time. But what of earlier eras?

The climate of the Cretaceous period does not seem to have been that much different. As Richard Kerr noted:

 “The earth of the Cretaceous Period 100 million years ago was unaccountably warm, as it generally had been since the end of the last great ice age 140 million years earlier…”

“Explaining Cretaceous climate has been difficult because it differed so from today’s. Coral reefs for which warm water is essential ranged as much as 1500 kilometers closer to the poles than they do today, as did nonseasonal land plants. Deep ocean water that now hovers near freezing was 15˚ (Celsius) warmer…Alligators and crocodiles seem to have thrived at latitudes as far north as that of present-day Labrador. And there is no evidence of any permanent ice like that which today deeply buries Antarctica and Greenland.”

“Not only was it generally warmer during the Cretaceous, but it was particularly warmer in the polar regions.”

Because the positions of the continents during the Cretaceous would have been different from the locales they would have occupied later during the Tertiary, scientists continued to seek an answer to the riddle of the earlier climate via continental drift. This was not only because the lands within the present Arctic Circle would have been farther removed from polar regions than they would have been during the following Tertiary, but also because the different continental configuration would have led to the development of an entirely different climatic regime. It was thus reasoned that:

“Continents bunched in low latitudes near the equator, as Cretaceous continents tended to be, would allow warm ocean currents to carry heat poleward.  High-latitude polar oceans, being less reflective than land, would also absorb more heat and further moderate climate.”

Eric Barron and Warren Washington therefore decided to test this hypothesis by recreating the Cretaceous climate through the use of a computer model. Others followed suit. There is no point here in tracing the ups and downs of these various attempts and the disagreements between them. Suffice it to say that, in 1984, Kerr could safely state that “there must be more to the long slide from the balmy Cretaceous period into the ice ages than the drifting of continents.” Turning to the contradictory results of these studies, he came to the conclusion that, so far, “computer models have failed to warm Earth as much as it was warmed in the Cretaceous, suggesting that a single geographic factor or perhaps even a combination of them cannot totally explain long-term climate change.”

One problem we still have to resolve is this: How could a sun, that is our proto-Saturnian brown dwarf star, permanently stationed above Earth’s north polar region, have also warmed Earth’s southern pole, to say nothing of the latitudes in between?

A World With One Season II

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