Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The Northern Islands, more commonly known in Russia as Severnaya Zemlya – literally meaning Northern Land, were off the coast of the Arctic Ocean and consisted a part of Russia’s northernmost region.
The islands were located between the Kara Sea and the Laptev Sea in the Arctic Ocean, across the Vilkitsky Strait from the northernmost point of Siberia, Cape Chelyuskin.
The archipelago included several islands, the largest of which were October Revolution, Bolshevik, Komsomolets, and Pioneer. In addition to these four large islands, there were more than 70 smaller ones.
With a total area of 37,600 square kilometers, the islands had a large territory and a small population. There were almost no permanent residents on the islands. Because of the freezing temperatures, nearly half of the area was covered by glaciers all year round.
The glacier area was uninhabitable, with the temperatures below freezing all year round, and often 30 or 40 degrees below freezing in winter. Apart from the glacier area, the rest of the territory belonged to the arctic tundra climate belt, with sparse vegetation and a dry climate.
Little Ford told Li Du that there had been some fishers and hunters on the island who used to hunt seals, walruses and beluga whales in the waters around the islands, but that they had left as global marine conservation groups included those animals in the protected species’ list.
Steve added, leaning over the side of the boat, “You’re wrong. They did not leave because conservation groups prohibited hunting those animals. They left because the animals were being killed in such large numbers that the population dwindled and they did not get many harvests. That’s why they left.”
“Have you ever been to this island before?” asked Li Du.
Little Ford pointed to Steve. “He’s been here. Actually, his family first discovered this island.”
Steve sipped his steaming coffee and explained, “It was my great-grandfather. He was a ship captain who loved to sail around the world. Columbus was his idol, but my great-grandfather was not quite as famous. ”
The news surprised Li Du. “Your great-grandfather discover Severnaya Zemlya? When it was that? And none of the islands was even named after him? What a pity.”
Steve laughed and said, “He was lucky to come back to New York alive. It was more than eighty years ago when the Bolsheviks were the mainstream, and capitalists like him were caught and shot.”
The names of the four main islands in the archipelago told quite plainly that they must have been discovered during the Soviet era, or they would not have such politically charged names.
“Then what is the purpose of our visit to this island? Look for extraterrestrial meteorites? Are you sure there are meteorites on the archipelago?”
“We are here to explore the history of human expansion. From the beginning of the evolution of modern humans in East Africa 160,000 years ago, the boundary of human life has been extending outward. This is the end of the expansion,” said Big Ford with a smile.
Li Du was stunned and said, “Here is the end of the expansion? You mean this is the last land that man has found?”
“It’s not that simple,” said Big Ford, shaking his head. “Your guess is right too, of course. This, indeed, is the last large area of land discovered by explorers. Do you know what Steve’s great-grandfather was looking for here?”
Li Du shook his head too and said, “I don’t know… would it be a meteorite?”
“You won’t believe it. He followed Polynesians here,” Steve himself said. “Yes, Polynesians, they left their mark.”
Li Du raised his hand. “Wait a minute, Polynesians? What the hell are you saying? Don’t Polynesians live in the South Pacific?”
He had learned about it during his trip to Australia. Polynesians were the broad ethnic group in the Oceania Polynesian Islands, including the Maori, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Hawaii, Tahiti, Tokelau, people from the Cook Islands, Niue, and Easter Island. The Polynesian people had more than ten main branches, and more than 90 minor ones.
Indeed, Polynesians were believed to be the last of the human migrations, and according to archaeological findings, researchers believed that Polynesians crossed the ocean to reach the Pacific Islands about 2,000 years ago.
Big Ford explained further, “Polynesians belong to the Mongolia race. Molecular anthropology has confirmed their roots originated in the East. Between four and six thousand years ago these people migrated to Taiwan, and after two thousand years more they crossed the sea again beyond the Melanesian Islands before moving to the Pacific, with local indigenous gene fusion forming the modern Polynesians.
Li Du asked, “What does that have to do with it? The South Pacific and the Arctic Ocean happen to be on the opposite sides of the earth, right?”
“Yes, that was the strange thing. Polynesians were supposed to belong in the south Pacific, so wasn’t it odd to find traces of their lives in Severnaya Zemlya?” said Big Ford as he shrugged.
Li Du frowned and said, “Well, you are trying to say this is another mystery of the world?”
The Ford brothers nodded simultaneously, and Little Ford said, “The mystery wasn’t solved.”
“Based on what we’ve found, there’s a hypothesis that the first way the Polynesians went was north. From climate surveys and sea routes, it was indeed easier for them to go north,” said Steve.
“They went all the way north until they came to the Northern Islands, which are far beyond the Arctic Circle, and found that it was no suitable place for people to live, which meant that they were on the wrong migration path.”
“It was a terrible mistake that could have destroyed their entire race, but they corrected it and went back to where they started. Instead of going north, they went south, across the equator into the South Pacific, and found a new, warmer, richer place to live.”
Li Du said, “I understand, but how could they go back? The fifth dimension, right? They found the node of the fifth dimension or some gate through which they went back to where they started.”
Steve nodded. “That’s a plausible theory.”
Li Du laughed and said, “Maybe they split up into two groups at the beginning? Doesn’t it make sense to say that the ones who went all the way north failed and the ones who went all the way south succeeded?”
Steve waved and said. “First, they were primitive tribes and didn’t have enough people or resources to travel the two routes. Second, if they did split up, those who stayed would have died at Severnaya Zemlya, and there would have been more evidence on or around the island, and…”
He was about to go on with his explanation when the captain’s anxious voice sounded, “God help us! What bad luck we have today! We’ve run into pirates! Get ready for battle!”