Antarctic Expedition Reveals 260 Million-Year-Old Fossilized Trees That Existed Before Dinosaurs
Antarctica is one of the most mysterious places on the planet. With a large part of it still unexplored, new discoveries keep coming by. Recently, researchers discovered tree fossils that are 260 million years old!
| Published: November 14, 2017 9:22 AM IST
Published: November 14, 2017 9:22 AM IST | Updated: November 14, 2017 9:22 AM IST
Penguins in the Antarctic Region
Antarctica is truly the most intriguing place on our planet. Its snow-clad peaks and vast white expanse are simply incredible. Due to its harsh weather conditions and limited accessibility, a lot about Antarctica is still unknown. It is one of the mysterious continents on our planet. As technology advances and more and more people make it to the continent, new discoveries surface every once in a while. A few months ago, 91 new volcanoes were discovered in Antarctica. We also told you about the warm caves beneath Antarctica’s glaciers that showed indications of life. And now, researchers on an expedition in Antarctica during its summer season have made yet another startling discovery. They have found fossils of 260 million-year-old trees revealing the existence of a forest before the time of dinosaurs.
The discovery was made when scientists from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM) in the US climbed the McIntyre Promontory’s frozen slopes in the Transantarctic Mountains. They found fossil fragments which show indications of a thriving forest almost 260 million years ago. It is believed that arouns 251 million years ago, the Permian perios ended with what is considered the greatest mass extinction ever. It resulted from the rapis shifting of from icehouse to greenhouse conditions wiping away close to 90 percent of species on the planet. The polar forests too fell to this extinction. Scientists believe that it was the increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane that caused the Permian-Triassic extinction. The recently discovered fossilized forests can give insights into life before the mass extinction. CHECK OUT British Explorer Ben Saunders is Trekking Across Antarctica, SOLO!
Earlier, Antarctica is believed to have been way warmer than it is today. In fact, India as we know it today was a part of the same continent as Antarctica. Called Gondwana, this super continent stretched across the southern hemisphere and included present-day South America, Africa, India, Australia and the Arabian Peninsula. Today, Antarctica is our southernmost continent that is home to rich wildlife including the beloved and adorable penguins. For those interested in Antarctic expeditions, several cruises are available that take you to the continent. Typically, the tour consists of a visit to the Antarctic Peninsula which is known for the Lemaire Channel and Paradise Harbor. It is the experience of a lifetime as you witness gorgeous iceberg-flanked passageways and landscapes you could not even imagine elsewhere in the world.