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I vaguely knew that Antarctica used to be warmer and have animals and stuff but had never thought about what that transition would have been like.

Antarctica used to be connected to Australia and South America, and after all three continents were isolated it took another 30 million years for Antarctica to freeze.

In that time the animals of Australia and s America got really weird. Do we know anything about what evolved in Antarctica?

@janellecshane in a couple of decades, we'll be able to dig up stuff in antarctica, and then we can find out

@janellecshane Marsupials, certainly. They evolved first in South America, then marched across to Australia where they had a bit of respite. It’s a good question, though, to get a big picture of Antarctica before it went cold.

@Shufei so there might have been woolly wombats at some point?

Do we know if mammals made it to Antarctica before it was cut off?

@janellecshane There are still lots of resident birds, and native plants in some places. Probably small mammals like rodents that hibernate well? But oddly one hears very little about them, and lots about penguins and albatrosses.
Now that I say it, penguins surely count as weird, for starters

@cathal @janellecshane Do you have any sources for that? Cause then the Wikipedia article, which says that the only mammals in Antarctica are seals and whales/dolphins needs updating.

@Anke @janellecshane Not at all: if it's a "known fact" that only aquatic mammals live there then that's the story. Just seems odd, one would expect at least something furry in Antarctica, considering how mammals are able to survive in the Arctic circle and there were mammals in Antarctica at least once long ago.
(edit: dumb autocorrect)

@janellecshane if people keep living the way they do now then we'll find out soon enough. They're about to defrost some well preserved fossils if we keep this up.

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