Geologists uncover Antarctica’s fossil forests

“Prehistoric polar forests were built for survival, but were not hardy enough to live in ultra-high concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. A geologist is studying the tree fossil record in Antarctica from a mass extinction 250 million years ago, looking for clues to how greenhouse gases affected plants — then and now.”

By the trip’s end, the geologists had found fossil fragments of 13 trees. The discovered fossils reveal that the trees are over 260 million years old, meaning that this forest grew at the end of the Permian Period, before the first dinosaurs.

“People have known about the fossils in Antarctica since the 1910-12 Robert Falcon Scott expedition,” said Gulbranson, a paleoecologist and visiting assistant professor in UWM’s Department of Geosciences. “However, most of Antarctica is still unexplored. Sometimes, you might be the first person to ever climb a particular mountain.”

Learn More – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee- Erik Gulbranson,

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“The geologic record shows us the beginning, middle and end of climate change events,” Gulbranson said. “With further study, we can better understand how greenhouse gases and climate change affect life on Earth.”   (Question- Does his statement put the cart before the horse?)

 

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