Trees, grass in prehistoric Antarctica

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People talk about climate change and how it is changing our planet, but did you know that periods of global warming have occurred before? The Miocene period, was one of these times. During this period the temperature in Antarctica could reach 45˚F (7˚C). Not sunbathing weather, but much warmer than the -4˚F (-20˚C) you currently find out there.

This warmer weather allowed plant and animal life to thrive; particularly animals which ate grass, like deer and antelope. Grassy plains covered the Antarctic continent where the ice sheet had melted. Researchers know this because they have found plant and animal fossils buried deep inside the Antarctic ground. Scientists disagree about when these areas of greenery disappeared, although some feel it might have been as recent as 2 million year ago.

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