UT Scientists Discovery: Antartica Once Had Forests, Plants, Animals, Insects

Antartica © Peter Flaig

Antartica © Peter Flaig

Antartica is a hidden world for most of us since it is such a forbidding place with temperatures reaching a low of −89 °C (−129 °F). It is on average the coldest, driest, and windiest continent and is considered a desert iceland.

Yet, University of Texas at Austin geologists have found traces that point to Antartica once being much warmer and harboring animal and plant life.

University of Texas at Austin geologist Peter Flaig of the Jackson School of Geosciences went to Antarctica in search of fossils. Surrounded by snow and ice, he and his colleagues discovered the footprints of horseshoe crabs, burrows of small mammal-like reptiles and the remains of forests, all signs of a much warmer time millions of years ago.

View the slide show at: utexas.