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Debunking Ancient Aliens: Sunken Cities and Underwater Worlds
Ancient Aliens is a television program currently in its forth season on The History Channel. In the season two episode "Underwater Worlds," the series posits that underwater monuments display skills that are "beyond that of primitive man" -- and that their existence is tied to alien interference.
So, what's the evidence? And does it check out?
The Lost City of Atlantis
As explained in Ancient Aliens, most of what is known today about Atlantis comes from Plato's Timaeus and Critias. British classicist Alan Cameron stated that "it is only in modern times that people have taken the Atlantis story seriously; no one did so in antiquity." Some of those who take the legend of Atlantis seriously appear on Ancient Aliens, discussing their hypotheses.
Atlantis, according to these theorists, was founded by the alien -- or more conventionally known, Greek God -- Poseidon, and became a thriving metropolis where Poseidon and his offspring lived. Disaster struck, according to Plato, when in a single day, the civilization was sunk into the water.
The first piece of evidence presidented in Bimini Road, a beach rock formation off the coast of North Bimini Island in the Bahamas. The Wikipedia article on Bimini Road gives a solid explanation of why it is likely that this formation is in fact a natural phenomenon rather than a piece of ancient human work. Similar formations are relatively common throughout the world, and are often even more precise than the formation at Bimini Road.
The Bermuda Triangle
Immediately, when the discussion of the Bermuda Triangle begins, one must take note that the sunken city off the coast of Cuba provided as evidence is quiet a ways away from the Bermuda Triangle. The only evidence of a city presented within the Bermuda Triangle -- which is assumed in the show to be Atlantis -- is Bimini Road, which as described bears little resemblance to a true city. So, why doesn't Ancient Aliens point out how far away this sunken city is from the Bermuda Triangle? Probably because the Bermuda Triangle brings up images of the unexplained to many Americans. Tying the sunken "city" -- if that is what it truly is -- to the Bermuda Triangle increases the level of interest.
So what about this city off the coast of Cuba and well outside of the Bermuda Triangle, believed to be over 6,000 years old? What they failed to mention is that, according to this report, the city bears incredible similarity in architectural style to the Mayan and Aztec temples of Mexico. If that turns out to be the case, then one must wonder if this could truly be Atlantis, when we have no evidence to suggest contact between the ancient Greek civilization and the Mayan and Aztec civilizations, and no reason to believe either were capable to traveling across the Atlantic.
While I wont go into detail on The Bermuda Triangle, for anyone interested in an article debunking the idea of unexplained disappearances, try reading the Wikipedia article, which points out that many studies have shown that, in reality, the "number and nature of disappearances in the region is similar to that of any other area of ocean."
The next region discussed is Yonaguni, a Japanese island. Off the coast of Yonaguni is what is known today as the Yonaguni Monument, a series of underwater formations or ruins. The footage shown on Ancient Aliens certainly looks like it could be manmade, particularly to the average person -- and many academics have come to this same conclusion.
Other academics, however, have reached a different conclusion. Robert Schoch, a geologist with Boston University, examined the monument and found that it is an example of "living rock" rather than blocks of rock that had been placed into the position we see today. Were the rocks blocks that had been positioned, that would certainly, he explains, indicate a man-made origin -- alas, he could find no such evidence. Schoch determined that natural weathering was responsible for the ruins at Yonaguni, although he admits it may be possible that man played a role in altering the monument to some degree.
Even if the Yonaguni Monument were man-made, this does not necessarily mean aliens were in any way involved in its creation. It may simply be a manmade monument. Ancient Aliens narrator and contributor Giorgio Tsoukalos claims it has been 14 thousand years since these monuments were last above water, but, according to Schoch, a geologist -- rather than a ufologist like Tsoukalos -- the monument could have been above water as recently as 8 to 10 thousand years ago. This difference of potentially 6 thousand years is massive, undermining much of the claim made for alien interference. Additionally, Schoch mentions that tools have been found on the island that could have been used to alter the rocks and create such a monument.