Antarctica was once covered by sub-tropical forest, dominated by dense stands of gymnosperm Glossopterids. When the bodies of Scott and his companions were discovered in November 1912 they were found to have been carrying with them 35lb of Glossopteris fossils. It was the discovery of similar fossils in India that led Austrian geologist Eduard Suess to suspect that India and Antarctica had once been part of the same land mass, which he called after the region in India where the fossils were found, Gondwanaland.
Antarctica has yielded fossils of dinosaurs, amphibians and even marsupials as well as fossilised spores and pollen of Nothofagus, including a form which is almost identical to the Tasmanian Nothofagus gunnii. Some of these fossils appear to be no more than 3 million years old, suggesting that the accepted notion that Antarctica cooled and became ice-bound soon after Australia and South America separated 30 million years ago, when the Circumpolar Current developed, is probably wrong. Every year we find ourselves asking more and different questions about what appears to be a more complex series of events than was originally thought.

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