The Present Is Not the Key to the Past: A Polar Forest from the Permian of Antarctica

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  18 Sep 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5077, pp. 1675-1677
DOI: 10.1126/science.257.5077.1675


An in situ Upper Permian fossil forest in the central Transantarctic Mountains near the Beardmore Glacier includes 15 permineralized trunks in growth position; the paleolatitude of the site was approximately 80° to 85° south. Numerous leaves of the seed fern Glossopteris are present in the shale in which the trunks are rooted. The trunks are permineralized and tree rings reveal that the forest was a rapidly growing and young forest, persisting in an equable, strongly seasonal climate—a scenario that does not fit with some climate reconstructions for this time period.