If I say that Antarctica was once bustling with life you would not believe me. But it is true. Looking at the the place which is now all covered with mountains and thick layer of ice ( 4 KM thick, as deep as the ocean ) it is hard to imagine that there was much more life in that place other than penguins, sea life and migratory birds.
How did scientists then discover what happened million of years ago? They used fossils.
Scientists recently found hundreds of dead beetles, wooden twigs, pieces of dried moss and bits of other plants during a digging session. These plants must have died some 20 million years ago but they are preserved so well that it appears that they died a few months back.
Discovery of these things are making scientists believe that Antarctica was much warmer earlier and forests of leafy trees once covered the land. The above picture shows leaves from a southern beech tree on the island of Tasmania, off Australia. They match exactly with the 20-million-year-old leaf imprints found in the mountains of Antarctica.
So even if Antarctica is not considered as a place to live now as the climate is very difficult, it was once alive and kicking. And a few strong animals still prefer Antarctica as their home.
Did you know that you don’t need to be a scientist to visit Antarctica? There are cruises that will take you there. You might even have a dinner date with some tuxedoed birds.