Paper 58 Life Establishment on Urantia Page 669
continents. But all continents tend to creep into the oceans. The continental pressure at ocean-bottom levels is about 20,000 pounds to the square inch. That is, this would be the pressure of a continental mass standing 15,000 feet above the ocean floor. The ocean-floor water pressure is only about 5,000 pounds to the square inch. These differential pressures tend to cause the continents to slide toward the ocean beds.
Depression of the ocean bottom during the prelife ages had upthrust a solitary continental land mass to such a height that its lateral pressure tended to cause the eastern, western, and southern fringes to slide downhill, over the underlying semiviscous lava beds, into the waters of the surrounding Pacific Ocean. This so fully compensated the continental pressure that a wide break did not occur on the eastern shore of this ancient Asiatic continent, but ever since has that eastern coast line hovered over the precipice of its adjoining oceanic depths, threatening to slide into a watery grave.
6. THE TRANSITION PERIOD
450,000,000 years ago the transition from vegetable to animal life occurred. This metamorphosis took place in the shallow waters of the sheltered tropic bays and lagoons of the extensive shore lines of the separating continents. And this development, all of which was inherent in the original life patterns, came about gradually. There were many transitional stages between the early primitive vegetable forms of life and the later well-defined animal organisms. Even today the transition slime molds persist, and they can hardly be classified either as plants or as animals.
Although the evolution of vegetable life can be traced into animal life, and though there have been found graduated series of plants and animals which progressively lead up from the most simple to the most complex and advanced organisms, you will not be able to find such connecting links between the great divisions of the animal kingdom nor between the highest of the prehuman animal types and the dawn men of the human races. These so-called “missing links” will forever remain missing, for the simple reason that they never existed.
From era to era radically new species of animal life arise. They do not evolve as the result of the gradual accumulation of small variations; they appear as full-fledged and new orders of life, and they appear suddenly.
The sudden appearance of new species and diversified orders of living organisms is wholly biologic, strictly natural. There is nothing supernatural connected with these genetic mutations.
At the proper degree of saltiness in the oceans animal life evolved, and it was comparatively simple to allow the briny waters to circulate through the animal bodies of marine life. But when the oceans were contracted and the percentage of salt was greatly increased, these same animals evolved the ability to reduce the saltiness of their body fluids just as those organisms which learned to live in fresh water acquired the ability to maintain the proper degree of sodium chloride in their body fluids by ingenious techniques of salt conservation.
Study of the rock-embraced fossils of marine life reveals the early adjustment struggles of these primitive organisms. Plants and animals never cease to make these adjustment experiments. Ever the environment is changing, and always are living organisms striving to accommodate themselves to these never-ending fluctuations.