A huge discovery for science, as scientists recently uncovered the dinosaurs of Antarctica. A multinational team of 12 researchers has stumbled upon a large trove of fossils. The fossils belong to the dinosaurs and other species. The animals lived during the Cretaceous Period, some up to 71 million years ago.
The findings took place at the James Ross Island, a large island near the Antarctic Peninsula. It is not a surprising discovery to uncover dinosaur fossils in the freezing Antarctica. About 170 million years ago, the continent’s climate was a tropical one. Antarctica was then part of the Gondwana supercontinent. The plentitude of forests was house to a multitude of ancient animals. It was all lost about 25 million years ago, when the region turned arctic cold. Gondwana had split into the existing continents.
The fossils discovery is the work of researchers from the U.S.A., Australia and South Africa. Steve Salisbury from the University of Queensland says the team found a few dinosaur remains, many remains of marine reptiles – such as plesiosaurs and mosasaurs, and ocean-dwelling creatures. Additionally, the researchers found remains of early ducks.
It was not an easy task to excavate the dinosaurs of Antarctica. The extreme weather and the ice blocking made it difficult just to reach the area of interest. The Drake Passage was an especially difficult region to pass. But the failed attempts didn’t set back the stubborn team. Using an icebreaker, boats and helicopters, the team finally reached their difficult destination, the James Ross Island. The researchers camped on Vega Island for more than a month, February to March. They had to hike approximately 10 kilometers every day just to reach the excavation spot.
The fossils are currently in Chile, and will be shipped to the U.S.A at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. There, a further study will be conducted. However, it will take up to two years until the final results of the discovery will be revealed. The larger bones have to be prepared before conducting any research on them, and it takes time.
The scientists are determined to return to Antarctica, as this expedition laid the groundwork for more to come.
IMAGE SOURCE: Wikipedia