Almost 90 million years ago, the territory of modern Antarctica was a rainforest. Such conclusions were made by paleontologists at Imperial College London. Scientists have confirmed their assumption with undeniable evidence. They believe that in the prehistoric period the climate on the planet was much warmer than scientists thought. An international group of scientists from Germany and the United Kingdom investigated the state of the soil 900 kilometers from the South Pole of the Earth.
There, scientists found the remains of forest soil, which belongs to the Cretaceous period. Specialists in the laboratory studied the remains of the roots of ancient trees, pollen, and spores and made an amazing discovery: the planet in the past was very warm, much warmer than scientists thought.
Professor Tina van de Flirdt of the Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering at Imperial believes modern scientists are very lucky. The fact that it was possible to discover the remains of the rainforest from the Cretaceous is already fantastic. Scientists have established the age of the trees that grew in this forest.
They were at least 90 million years old. For ordinary tropical forests of the ancient world of the planet, this is not a long time. But this rainforest was in Antarctica, which seems incredible. After all, the most recent warm period on Earth was observed 140 million years ago.
In the middle of the Cretaceous period, about 115-80 million years ago, the level of СО2 in the atmosphere was significantly higher than previously compiled climate models showed. The middle of this period is marked by the appearance of dinosaurs. At the same time, the climate on the planet was very warm. The temperature in the tropics rose to plus 35.
But there was very little information about the environment of that period. Scientists have now discovered signs of temperate rainforest south of the Arctic Circle. It is about the same climate as today in New Zealand. The presence of the tropics indicates that the average temperature was about 12 degrees, and the South Pole of the planet did not have its traditional ice cap.