Antarctica's lost 'ancient forest' found deep within continent's hulking ice

  • 31-08-2023, 08:42
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    INA-  sources 

    As the Earth's fifth largest and most southerly continent, Antarctica has captured the attention and imagination of countless people.

    Temperatures there regularly drop below -90C, making it one of the most inhospitable places on the planet.

    This hasn't stopped humans from exploring it, however, and anywhere between 1,000 and 5,000 people currently live there.
    Against all odds, Antarctica has a thriving wild animal population with around 235 different species calling the continent home.
    It appears that it could well have been home to much more flora and fauna in history, as research suggests Antarctica was once teeming with life and home to a temperate forest.

    The breakthrough discovery was made after a mission found fossilised plant roots preserved under the ocean since the time of the dinosaurs.
    Explored during the science journal Nature's short documentary, 'An ancient Antarctic Rainforest', the narrator noted: "It seems this freezing landscape was once home to a lush forest."
    Dr Johann Klages, a scientist from the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany who led the research, said: "90 million years ago, a temperate rainforest existed in West Antarctica only 900 kilometres away from the South Pole."
    He and his team set out with a special drill to extract a core of material around 30 metres into the sea floor in 2020, finding that the annual mean temperature of a strip of western Antarctic coastline was 12C.
    This would have seen the region enveloped in a swampy rainforest environment.

    source: Express