A recent discovery of turtle bones in Antarctica’s Seymour Island has scientists predicting that the continent was once a lush rain forest. full of a large variety of animal life.
In the Eocene Epoch, which lasted from about 56 to 34 million years ago, Antarctica was still connected to New Guinea and Australia, forming the last vestiges of the southern supercontinent Gondwanaland. The fact that Antarctica was connected by land to these other large regions helped isolate it from colder ocean currents, which allowed the continent to support a tropical rainforest inhabited by turtles and even marsupials, which have also been discovered on Seymour Island.
The discovery is hard to put into perspective when we realize that only 8 inches of rainfall now occurs yearly in the world’s largest desert which is famous for ice and penguins, not trees and cold blooded creatures.
The recently discovered turtle bones date back nearly 45 million years and were discovered at Seymour Island. Only several bones from one or two turtles have been discovered, however they are the first of their kind in the region.