Antarctica Was Once A Forest, Fossils Show

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Scientists have discovered fossil fragments of timber which are 260 million years outdated in Antarctica, which proves that the frozen tundra was a thriving forest lengthy earlier than the primary dinosaurs appeared.

Researchers on the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM) climbed the McIntyre Promontory’s frozen slopes within the Transantarctic Mountains throughout summer time in Antarctica. They searched the mountain for fossils pointing to the continent’s potential inexperienced previous, Newsweek stories.

Erik Gulbranson, badistant professor at UWM, mentioned, “People have known about the fossils in Antarctica since the 1910-12 Robert Falcon Scott expedition.” He added,

However, most of Antarctica remains to be unexplored. Sometimes, you may be the primary particular person to ever climb a selected mountain.

John Isbell, professor at UWM, beforehand studied the Permian glacial deposits on the icy continent to learn the way the local weather modified. He used rocks discovered across the fossilized timber to look at how the fossils slot in geologic historical past.

When the Earth shifted from ice to greenhouse situations 251 million years in the past, it ended the Permian Period. During this time, over 90% of life species on Earth vanished, together with the forests. Gulbranson mentioned, “This forest is a glimpse of life before the extinction, which can help us understand what caused the event.”

Researchers imagine that the timber within the Antarctic forests had been a sturdy species, and are actually making an attempt to find out what made them go extinct. The prevailing perception is that an unlimited enhance in greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide and methane, introduced on the Permian-Tribadic extinction.

Most possible, volcanic gases from eruptions in Siberia launched volumes of greenhouse gases into the ambiance. At the top of the Permian Period, Antarctica was extra humid and hotter than in the present day. It was part of the supercontinent Gondwana that unfold over the Southern Hemisphere.

The supposition is that there would have been mosses, ferns and different extinct plant species like Glossopteris on this forest, which might have spanned the whole Gondwana.

 



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