Monday, August 6, 2012

Antarctica Once Had Baobab Trees

Antarctica was once home to a diverse range of tropical plants including ferns, palms and rainforest trees, say scientists. The researchers took a research ship to Wilkes Land off Antarctica's eastern coast, where they drilled a kilometre deep into the ocean floor. The layers of sediment they extracted contain tiny fossils and chemicals, trapped in a snapshot of time.

They have uncovered the first direct evidence of a much warmer, greener continent in the Southern Ocean. They publish their findings today in Nature.

Dr James Bendle from the University of Glasgow was one of the team who took part in the study. He says, 'In the sediments we found fossilised pollen representing two distinct environments with different climatic conditions - a lowland, warm rainforest dominated by tree-ferns, palm trees and baobab trees; and a cooler mountainous region dominated by beech trees and conifers.'

1000 year Baobab tree in Africa

Baobab trees are native to Madagascar and are also known as the 'tree of life', because their swollen trunks can store water.

Read it all at Planet Earth, Autumn 2012, page 4, here.

This 6000 year Baobab tree stands in Senegal.

Related reading: Genesis and Climate ChangeTrees in Genesis; Theories About the Tree of LifeThe Tree in the Middle of the Garden

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