On my page, a History of the Indian River, I detail how the ending of the age of glaciers, triggered the rise in sea levels and eventually the flooding of the ghost lagoons under the Atlantic and eventually the flooding of the lagoons we know and love: The Banana and Indian Rivers & Mosquito Lagoon.
I have also traced the still visible stream banks of the fresh water rivers or creeks that once flowed across the broad prairie before rising ocean broke over the barrier islands to create the current lagoon system.
I assume the streams and prairie drew game and the always present predators (two and four legged)
Giant sloth at Sam's House park, Merritt Island Florida
The first shell middens of salt water shells appear on the shores of the Lagoon system approximately 5000 years ago. (Ancestors of the Ais Indians)
I don't have an exact date of first saltwater intrusion or when salt water oyster and clams colonized the current lagoon, so I took a silly wild guess at 7000 years before present as the first flooding.
By this time, Native Americans had been hunting in Florida for approximately 7000 years
Ice age spear point along the shore of the Indian River exposed by the last hurricane
With a little imagination, I attempted to place myself on the site of the flooding of the game rich prairie.
And so my fictitious eye witness account...
Please forgive my adding the mammoth family. Why not? There is not really an exact date set for the last Florida mammoth.....So I am picking the date.
Grandfather's game crossing
Growing lagoon as the ocean flooded the prairie & stream
Sand ridge west of Merritt Island, East Coast of Florida; seven thousand years before present.
Skins-Llama stood upon the sandy ridge overlooking the bowl shaped prairie and the willow lined stream that twisted snake-like through the close cropped grasslands.
At length he squatted holding his two darts and shell topped dart thrower ready to hurl flint-tipped death.
The panicked animals below him could at any moment turn uphill towards him as had the recent wolf pack.
Never had the bison ford seen such use he marveled.
The sandy stream crossing, a favorite ambush spot of his, his father’s and all the grandfathers before him.
There was a sadness, a resignation for he was aware that never again would the favorite ambush crossing be used.
His would be the last kill at his Grandfathers' ford.
Below him on the short grass prairie; as if running from a smoky grass fire, herds of horses and llamas splashed across the stream always looking southward.
Some of the horses; both of the spotted and stripped type could not decide upon which side of the water held safety and raced back and forth back across the water.
Wolves and cats the horses knew about. They could flee as needed.
This threat? Chaos reigned- nothing like this had ever happened before.
Turkeys ran along the stream then flew over the water when spooked by running bison.
A jaguar slipped across the ford without a splash completely ignored by the horses. Following the jaguar, a great lumbering bear that was ignored by both cat and horse.
A white tailed eagle reluctantly left it’s kill and flew overhead uttering a shrieking call of protest.
Skins-Llama, watched as a panicked llama ignored the crowded ford and attempted to swim the stream only to be immediately pulled into a death roll by grandfather alligator.
Deer and more wolves crowded through the ford and a small deer was pulled into the water with a great splash.
The grandfathers feast today thought Skins-Llama.
The animals fled as if from a lightning fire; however there was no smoke on the horizon, yet flocks of ibis and cranes took flight at the approaching danger.
Next the secretive animals of the forest and prairie appeared; foxes, rabbits and bobcats ignored the ford instead sprinting north towards sanctuary.
A young panther appeared from the willows to grab a rabbit and sprint north following the trail of fox and bobcat, the squealing rabbit still held in whiskered mouth.
“By all the Grandfathers!” swore Skins-Llama.
His eyes opened wide in surprise as a family of mammoths appeared from the willows and crossed the stream.
The Giant alpha bull wielding huge ivory tusks.
Mammoths had not been seen since the childhood of his talented grandfather known by the clans as ‘Ivory-carver’.
Mammoth skulls and the curved tusks were found through out the land however these were the first of the giant beasts ever alive seen by Skin-Lama.
Suddenly the grass around the feet of the shaggy mammoths wavered and the family of mammoths cried out in union an ear splitting cacophony.
“I have heard that call before” uttered Skins-Llama. Never having learned in all his wide hunts what type of animal had made that call.
Below him on the prairie, the bull mammoth stomped his foot and water splashed around the shaggy feet!
The bull again echoed his call of protest.
Skins-Llama marveled at the volume of the sound. Only the thunder of dark storms rivaled the sound.
But the water!
The prairie grasslands disappeared as a tide of water swelled out of the stream to spread over the cropped vegetation.
The invasive water spreading as would an animal bleed red when struck by his dart; the stream bleeding as if the very earth made water.
Flocks of quail took flight from their hideaways and in the short time span of a few breaths, the water had grown so wide he could not cast his spear across to the far side of the flood!
Through the spreading waters the mammoths strolled unfazed while a multitude of small animals lost footing to be carried north by the ever spreading slow waters: opossums, raccoons, turtles and peccaries.
A sloth even taller than the mammoths sloshed its way onto dry land with its own contingent of small animal refugees clinging to the stiff fur of its back.
Alligators drifted lazily from the willows unfazed at the growth in their domain. Otters played in their new domain.
On the far side of the flood, as on his side; llamas, deer and horses snorted uneasily and the grazers fled the rising water running towards the forest edge away from the grass lands.
“Saltwater” marveled Skins-Llama
The flood tide was saltwater he knew. For the east prairie had flooded less than a moon-rise ago, eventually topping off creating a vast inland sea. The water eventually spilling over into the prairie below him.
The result was that the land on the far side of the flood-tide was now an island.
watched as the new sea grew wider and the alligators pulled the small
animals under water; the willow trees were island of refugee jutting
from the flood and decorated with crawling climbing things.
What if the water keeps rising and covers the ridge he stood upon? Would the water swallow the whole world?
If such were the creators wished-so be it, marveled Skins-Llama.
For the world had flooded in another age-easily demonstrated because of the wealth of ocean shells and sharks teeth found inland of the ridge…..So be it.
That is why his people buried the deceased in the inland ponds. Water would cover the world again and the ancestors would be reborn.
However was the trade of the shamans.
My trade is the hunt thought Skins-Llama.
the water would stop below the ridge upon which he stood; how was he
and the hunters to cross to the new island to hunt llama and horse?
Below him the mammoths called again as they splashed from the rising water.
Skins-Llama notched his dart to dart thrower and walked downhill his belly growling.
before his time placed in the burial pond had explained how to hunt
the dangerous mammoths.
small calf mammoth guarded by the herd was more meat than his people
could use in a week.
However as always, he would share his kill with wolf and eagle.
His clan would once again feast on mammoth.
“My name is Skins-Mammoth” he whispered beaming with pride.
Outside of his sight, the prairie still continued to flood, a great salt lagoon in the making.end
Okay, so it was a little simple, however the point of the point of the story was describing the "great flood" & how it was made.
Could be complete BS But I had fun writing the story.
Will add photos as I get time.
Return Home from "Eye-witness account of the formation of the Indian River some seven thousand years ago"
My fictional series/stories on Florida history:
Freedoms Quest (book one)
Struggle for the northern frontier and other lost tales of old Florida.
Available on Amazon