By Neil Oliver
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Additional info for A History of Scotland Look Behind the Mist and Myth of Scottish History
Animals that had felt secure in the open - like the reindeer and the bison - left for green pastures elsewhere or fell to extinction. In their place came beasts that preferred the cover of trees and browsed among the shadows of the forest floor. Scotland drew across herself a cloak of aspen, birch, elm, hazel, lime, oak and pine and through the dappled gloom moved all the creatures of the woods - wild cattle, boar, deer both red and roe, elk. Through the canopy above moved polecats, martens and birds.
The axis around which our planet spun was now askew for all time - leaning at a jaunty angle - but it kept on spinning like a wonky top. The ceaseless rotation makes of earth a giant dynamo, generating an electrical-magnetic force field that protects all life against the deadliest of the sun’s radiation. The Aurora Borealis - the Northern Lights that can be glimpsed in Scotland when the conditions are right - are an effect of the relationship between that crackling cloak and particles from the sun.
For the next two hundred million years the movement of the plates caused that ocean to close up, its waters consumed or pushed elsewhere by the process. By four hundred million years or so ago, Laurentia and Avalonia had drawn close together. One plate slid beneath the other as they came on and the violence of their advances forced above the surface of that ocean an offshore arc of islands. These in turn were sandwiched and enveloped by the final coming-together of the two continents, their peaks and valleys forming what would eventually be the Highlands of Scotland.
A History of Scotland Look Behind the Mist and Myth of Scottish History by Neil Oliver