The Road to Gondwana traces the steps science took to find Gondwana, and the journey Gondwana itself took through 500 million years of Earth history. The road to Gondwana took western science many hundreds of years to travel. And like Scott’s epic haul across the ice of Antarctica, it was a journey jagged with many dead ends and wasted miles. When it was finally realised, Gondwana still remained fuzzy, hard to picture. It is still that way.
Gondwana is a place that no longer exists, and yet which still connects half the world, because the 3 billion people who live in Africa, South America, India, Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, and Arabia spend their lives walking around on what’s left of it.
But more than that, Gondwana has shaped the world we all live in. Many of the species we share the planet with evolved there. Had Gondwana never existed, the planet would be a very different place. The trees of our forests would be different. The animals we live amongst would not be the same. Had Gondwana not existed, maybe we wouldn’t either.
The Road to Gondwana is a story about deep time, and the challenges that face those who venture there. It’s a story about the importance of imagination in science, and the reasons that the journey towards understanding is sometimes more important than the destination.