Fossils helmet-headed Whistler pointed to the warm past of Antarctica

On Seymour island in the Antarctic for the first time found the remains of amphibians from the kind of helmet-headed whistlers (Calyptocephalella). Survives to this day, but its representatives are now found only in Chile. It is likely that 40 million years, when you have found the helmet-headed Whistler was alive, the climate in parts of Antarctica were about the same as in Waldowski forests in Chile today, temperate and humid. Research paper published in Scientific Reports.

Antarctica for a long time, along with Australia, South America, Indian subcontinent and some other parts of the land was part of the continent of Gondwana. In the Mesozoic Gondwana began to break up, and in the Cenozoic, the process was completed. One of the last to about 41 million years ago (in the Eocene), there was the Drake passage between Antarctica and South America.

Although it is believed that this event led to a sharp cooling of the climate in Antarctica (through the Strait passed the cold stream circle, who could not withdraw), scientists suggest that glaciers of the mainland was covered before the opening of the Strait. Argument in favor of this point of view is that of the remains of mammals of the Eocene in Antarctica found very little, and the animals are not able to maintain a constant body temperature of amphibians, reptiles and freshwater fish was not found.

On the island of Seymour in the Northern part of the Antarctic during the excavations 2011-2013 Swedish and Argentinian researchers found the skull and the Ilium amphibians of the Anura order, for the first time in this geographical area Remains measured and subjected to scanning microscopy to obtain detailed images of their surfaces. The structure of the bones compared with the data of computer tomography of the skeletons of other amphibians from the site Morphosource.

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