Via NPR’s Sciency Blog Krulwich Wonders: ”Obama’s Secret Weapon In The South: Small, Dead, But Still Kickin’—a not entirely implausible chain of causality from a map of the Cretaceous era (above) to a 2008 electoral map:
Look at this map, and notice that deep, deep in the Republican South, there’s a thin blue band stretching from the Carolinas through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. These are the counties that went for Obama in the last election. A blue crescent in a sea of red.
These same counties went mostly blue in 2004 and 2000. Why? Well, the best answer, says marine biologist Craig McClain, may be an old one, going back before the Civil War, before 1776, before Columbus, back more than 100 million years to the days when the Deep South was under water. Those counties, as he writes here, went for Obama because trillions and trillions and trillions of teeny sun-loving creatures died there. He’s talking about plankton. That’s why the Republicans can’t carry those counties. Blame plankton.
Not surprisingly, the key link in the chain linking these disparate maps is cotton. Click thru for Krulwich’s explanation of McClain’s argument, including a few more maps made by a UW-Green Bay geologist named Steve Dutch. Note the footnote at the bottom of the post: