April 14, 2014 | Welcome | Permalink

Sarah ZielinskiI am an award-winning science writer and editor with more than a decade of experience covering a wide breadth of science, from astronomy to zoology. My blog, Wild Things, appears at Science News, and my work has been published in a variety of other outlets, including Slate, Scientific American, Smithsonian, Science, Science News, National Geographic News and NPR.org.

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The science behind Noah and other myths

April 14, 2014 | Writing | Permalink

The tale of Noah's Ark may hold a sliver of truth and could have been inspired by a real flood. (painting by Edward Hicks, via Wikimedia Commons)

The tale of Noah’s Ark may hold a sliver of truth and could have been inspired by a real flood. (painting by Edward Hicks, via Wikimedia Commons)

Earlier this year, I took a trip to North Carolina with the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources to learn about various environmental issues. While in the Outer Banks, in the middle of a Nor’easter, with the winds blowing and the sea washing homes into the ocean right before our eyes, I considered how the current human population is–or isn’t–dealing with the problem of sea level rise. That made me think about how past populations may have dealt with the problem thousands of years ago, when the Ice Age was retreating and glaciers were melting, and led me to the field of geomythology and the story  “Ten Ancient Stories and the Geological Events That May Have Inspired Them”:

Myths have fed the imaginations and souls of humans for thousands of years. The vast majority of these tales are just stories people have handed down through the ages. But a few have roots in real geological events of the past, providing warning of potential dangers and speaking to the awe we hold for the might of the planet.

Find out about the science behind Noah’s Ark, the giant catfish that shakes Japan and exploding lakes in Africa at Smithsonian.com.