Home South pole ice Breakthrough in Antarctica after scientists find evidence of hot ‘old-growth forest’ in...

Breakthrough in Antarctica after scientists find evidence of hot ‘old-growth forest’ in ice | Sciences | New

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Antarctica is the fifth largest and southernmost continent on Earth. With temperatures often dropping below -90 ° C, it is one of the most inhospitable places on the planet, with only the hardiest life forms able to survive. That hasn’t stopped humans from venturing into the arid lands, where between 1,000 and 5,000 people live there.

The wonders of adaptation have led to a thriving wildlife population, with around 235 different species that inhabit Antarctica.

While today’s Antarctica is nothing more than an ice desert, previous research suggests the region was once a hotbed of life and a temperate forest.

The decisive discovery was made after a mission found fossilized plant roots preserved under the ocean since the days of the dinosaurs.

Explored during the science journal Nature’s short documentary, “An Ancient Antarctic Rainforest,” the narrator noted, “It seems this icy landscape once housed a lush forest. “

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 just 900 kilometers from the South Pole.

He and his team found the evidence after setting off with a special drill to extract a core of material extending 30 meters from the seabed in 2020.

The discovery was unprecedented: They found that the annual average temperature of a strip of the west coast of Antarctica was 12 degrees.

It would have made a tropical swamp forest landscape.

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“We can see well how the roots are connected to each other and are perfectly preserved.

“We have fine roots, we have thick roots, and it’s really a network like you go into the forest near you and drill in the forest today.”

The study of the nucleus, including analysis of pollen and fossilized spores, provided even more information about the environment of the ancient rainforest.

Mr Klages explained: “It revealed a very hot temperature for this latitude and annual average temperatures similar to those in northern Italy.

“It would be very certain that dinosaurs and insects lived in this environment as well, and in a dark environment for about four months out of the year because we have the polar night.”

It was one of the hottest periods in Earth’s history.

Carbon dioxide levels were several times higher than they are today.

Mr. Klages hopes that studying the extremes of the past could potentially help us prepare for the future.

Indeed, it allows to have a brief vision of the future of what the planet could look like if we continue to emit excessively CO2.


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