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Fossilized Remnants Of 90-Million-Year-Old Rainforest Discovered Beneath Antarctic Ice

When people talk about Antarctica’s continent, most of them will have visions of parkas, dog sleds, and bone-chilling temperatures. Most explorers would have to face ice, snow, and extremely low weather to learn more about this intriguing part of the world. It requires all visitors to prepare the warmest clothing they can find to roam all over Antarctica comfortably.

The continent has the reputation of being the age coldest area on Earth. Reports claimed that Antarctica is an icy desert that receives little precipitation. But discoveries from science experts claimed that glaciers and ice do not always cover the continent. According to the latest studies, the landscape in the southernmost continent in the world used to look like the regular rainforests the world has today.

While it can be hard to imagine Antarctica with lush green forests, but the recent sediment samples collected from the continent revealed that it used to have a temperate climate approximately 90 million years ago. The evidence also showed that there was lush vegetation with various organisms thriving in the area. It is very far from the usual pictures showing the situation on the continent.

A team of international researchers, composed of paleontologists and geologists, worked hand in hand in drilling into the thick ice to unearth the remains of the continent’s past periods buried deep in the ground. The project is being done onboard the RV Polarstern ice breaker vessel in the Amundsen Sea area. The drilling spot is located near the Pine Island Glacier.

One of the samples gathered had to be CT scanned due to its unique and unexpected color. The researchers needed the procedure to understand its mystery. Based on the CT scan results, the sample can be considered a root fossil or the remains of vegetation that has been preserved properly.

Team member Tina van de Flierdt from London’s Imperial College claimed that the discovery was “remarkable.” She also added that the evidence proved that unexpected “swampy, temperate rainforests” existed near the South Pole in the past.

Another member of the team claimed that they could compare the South Island of New Zealand to the newly discovered landscape that used to exist in Antarctica several millennia ago.

Some of the evidence found during the excavation project includes conifers, ferns, and other trees. It also showed signs of flowering plants. While they have yet to uncover any signs of animal fossils, the researchers believe that several species of dinosaurs, flying reptiles, and different insects living in the continent during the time of the existence of the rainforests in the icy continent.

The team members also believe that the region’s temperature can go as high as 77 degrees F during the summertime. On the other hand, another biologist claimed that the average annual temperature could be around 53- to 55-degrees F.

Antarctica’s latest revelations could paint a good feature regarding the new information released by the experts regarding the planet. More reports about this discovery are expected to come out from the experts in the future.


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