14 million year-old lost world found in Antarctica

A lost world has been found in Antarctica, preserved just the way it was when it was frozen in time some 14 million years ago. The fossils of plants and animals high in the mountains is an extremely rare find in the continent, one that also gives a glimpse of a what could be there in a century or two as the planet warms. A team working in an ice-free region has discovered the trove of ancient life in what must have been the last traces of tundra on the interior of the southernmost continent before temperatures began to drop relentlessly.An abrupt and dramatic climate cooling of 8°C in 200,000 years forced the extinction of tundra plants and insects and brought interior Antarctica into a perpetual deep-freeze from which it has never emerged, though may do again as a result of climate change. An international team led by Prof David Marchant, at Boston University and Profs Allan Ashworth and Adam Lewis, at North Dakota State University, combined evidence from glaciers, from the preserved ecology, volcanic ashes and modelling to reveal the full extent of the big freeze in a part of Antarctica called the Dry Valleys. The new insight in the understanding of Antarctica's climatic history, which saw it change from a climate like that of South Georgia to one similar to that seen today in Mars, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "We've documented the timing and the magnitude of a tremendous change in Antarctic climate," said Prof Marchant. "The fossil finds allow us to examine Antarctica as it existed just prior to climate cooling at 13.

9 million years ago. It is a unique window into the past. To study these deposits is akin to strolling across the Dry Valleys 14.1 million years ago." The discovery of lake deposits with perfectly preserved fossils of mosses, diatoms and minute crustacea called ostracods is particularly exciting, noted Prof Lewis. "They are the first to be found even though scientific expeditions have been visiting the Dry Valleys since their discovery during the first Scott expedition in 1902-1903," he said.



August 9, 2008 at 2:17 PM

But the earth is only 6000 years old ;)


August 9, 2008 at 2:26 PM

This fits perfectly into the hydroplate theory of the great flood of Noah. The ice caps were formed when an ice meteor hit the earth. That's why everything is preserved. Only a catastrophe would have left everything in tact. Long, slow, gradual cooling would have left things very poorly preserved.

I am always interested to find out how they get the numbers they use in the ages. Most of the time they don't say, they just give a date.

  Not a scientist

August 9, 2008 at 2:39 PM

That would be radiometric dating by measuring the ratio of uranium to lead in the strata in which the test subjects are found.


August 9, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Off-topic, but I thought the "great" flood was the collapse of the land barrier at the top end of the Bosphorus Strait, which caused the creation of the Black Sea.


August 9, 2008 at 3:02 PM

If the earth was 6000 years old, I can say with confidence that scientists would be able to date something that recent in our timeline with great accuracy.

  partly gullible

August 9, 2008 at 3:07 PM

Depends how you look at it ms gullible.


August 9, 2008 at 3:39 PM

I'm just waiting for them to find the fossil of a skyscraper or something that tells us we aren't the first semi intelligent species to inhabit this planet.


August 9, 2008 at 4:41 PM

Antartica doesn't actually exist, have you ever seen it, have you walked there? No, because it's all lies by scientists pushing the spherical earth theory in order to undermine the teachings of the bible.

Wake up people!


August 9, 2008 at 5:01 PM

I've been to Antartica and it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever visted, and I hope to return one day.

.. of course, as stated above, I am but a scientist in my field, and am merely trying to ween you off of your Biblical beliefs.

Shame, shame on me!


August 9, 2008 at 6:46 PM

Holy Smokes dude that is one OLD city isnt it? Wow can you imagine?



August 9, 2008 at 7:11 PM

doswheeler... what? Are you retarded? There is no city.


August 9, 2008 at 7:17 PM

I have been to Antartica and am not a scientist. It is real and fantastic.


August 9, 2008 at 8:33 PM

Scientists have about 28 different ways of dating things, and they cross-check them with each other to validate the methodologies. Once a few dating methods are trusted by having been cross-validated with many other techniques, it's well established that the dating is reliable. So when they say something is around one million years, or around six million years old, or however many years old, they actually have good, reliable, confirmed techniques to back that up.


August 9, 2008 at 8:45 PM

How many "science" years are in a "god" year? What if one year to God is 10 Million years to us? (Unified theory for Science + Religion?) Look into Pi long enough you will find God's whisper in there...

  Half a scientist

August 9, 2008 at 9:12 PM

One of the ways in which they measure the approximate age of a given item(s), is by the use of a Carbon 14 analysis.

The Carbon isotope known as Carbon 14 is radioactive and has a half-life (the time it takes for half the mass of the element to emit radiation and split into small compounds) of some million years (exact number I don't know), it has been calculated that there is a set percentage of a given mass of any carbon object, that is Carbon 14. E.g. (not exact number) for every 100 grams of a carbon based object, there is 18 grams of Carbon 14.

So, by performing an analysis of the item in question: the scientists can figure out how much Carbon 14 is left in the item and how great a percentage it is of the total mass of the item, and by doing so they can determine somewhat accurately, how old the item in question is.


August 9, 2008 at 10:38 PM

That's Cthulhu at the mountains of madness.


August 9, 2008 at 11:14 PM

The whole uranium to lead ratio assumes that the earth is really old to start with and that the lead was not just in the rocks to start with. Since uranium is found with lead all the time, that would be the more logical assumption.

Same with any other radiometric dating process. They all make the initial assumption that the earth is really old.


August 9, 2008 at 11:21 PM

Carbon 14 dating has a flaw. C-14 is being created and destroyed in our environment all the time. Created by radiation and destroyed by decay. C-14 dating makes the assumption that this process has been going on long enough to reach equilibrium. There is quite a bit of research that disputes this and that C-14 is in fact still increasing in our environment. This type of research is routinely buried by the scientific community but you can find the papers if you look. So, they say that the earth is really old and then use that to prove that the earth is really old. Pretty lame method if you look into it.

You will find that things like fossils are not dated by C-14 as it only is accurate to about 50K years or so. Fossils are dated by the rock layers they are found in. to get even more silly, the rock layers are dated by the index fossils.

The Bible says that earth was a paradise and perhaps a very different place than it is now. It metions the earth being out of the water and in the water. Perhaps a layer of ice or water vapor protected the earth before the great flood. If that was the case, you would get screening of UV rays, different atmosphere and possibly much different rate of growth for life and vegetation. In other words, the whole earth might have been like a giant greenhouse before the flood.


August 10, 2008 at 12:00 AM

I hope the ones of you touting bible nonsense are truly joking. You don't really believe what you are saying, right?


August 10, 2008 at 1:15 AM

To all those bible extremists: in what cave have you been last 500 years?

God gave us brains to use it, so please start using it!!!!!

Ooh, you think earth is flat, well... OK then. Just let me explain you... Bla, bla...


August 10, 2008 at 1:36 AM

To the religous anonymous:

"You will find that things like fossils are not dated by C-14 as it only is accurate to about 50K years or so. Fossils are dated by the rock layers they are found in. to get even more silly, the rock layers are dated by the index fossils."

Exactly. So if the earth was created by god less than 10 000 years ago we would easily be able to date it accurately?

  0.6 Scientist

August 10, 2008 at 8:27 AM

Half a Scientist: C-14 can only date to 60,000 years, after which it has completely decayed.


August 11, 2008 at 11:26 AM

The earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old duh!


August 11, 2008 at 1:10 PM

this proves Noah spilled his drink overboard as the comet Hale-Bopp delivered the Annunaki to the Aztek
Pyramids which triggered a geomantic catastrophe and turned the entire earth into a zamboni machine churning ice cube maker


August 11, 2008 at 1:56 PM

i have been everywhere antartica is real if not it's coldest illusion i've ever wittnessed. heres a real mind bender for you hard line creationist i worship god as you, but know beyond a shadow of doubt your all way off, the world and all creation is billions of years old, if you flat out ask god he will tell you. your bible, not his was established by constantine a man, not god. got that....


August 11, 2008 at 2:41 PM

Just as long as they stay away from the Mountains of Madness, lest they unleash the hordes of shoggoths sleeping beneath the city of the Old Ones!!!


August 11, 2008 at 2:45 PM

The great flood was caused by a catastrophic pole-shift caused by a lopsided accumulation of ice at the poles. The Earth's spin became unstable and toppled over. That's why mammoths and rhinoceri were found flash-frozen!! It happens every three to seven thousand years, acoording to Hugh Auchincloss Brown's "Cataclysms of the Earth."

  DGM Photography Ltd

August 12, 2008 at 1:50 AM

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 12, 2008 at 1:52 AM

I am intrigued by all that has been written in this blog. I am however, concerned that narrow minded people trust what they read or are told. Science has fact and truth. Would you not say that you are extremely arrogant to think that you are the only intelligent life or even force in the galaxy? Think about this the earth is spherical these places including Antarctica exists and it is highly likely that old existence and fossils of plantation and creatures will be found. Let’s not forget that all of our continents today all belonged together. Due to continental shifts the continents broke away and moved over millions of years. THE EARTH IS NOT 6000 YERAS OLD our planet is far older than we could ever imagine, not even space exploration can tell us how old we are. . .


August 13, 2008 at 11:24 PM

It seems to me that the debate here is erroneous. Religion vs. Science? Until someone can link the two of which there is most certainly one, humankind will suffer from to the detriment of both parties. By the way, science has the upper hand on this on and now I hope people will look at the affects our current actions will have on the areas we live in no matter where you are. The earth will change drastically; whether it be gradually or suddenly is unknown.


August 15, 2008 at 8:14 PM

"14 million year-old" is a declaration pseudo-science in it's element. Fossils of creatures that lived before Noah's flood have so little radio carbon many zeros inevitably get churned out in the calculation of the age. The very simple reason pre-flood creatures contain so little carbon 14 is because they were not exposed to cosmic rays which are critical for the decay of radio carbon. The water that fell as Noah's flood was a curtain of water several miles thick and this prevented the entry of cosmic rays. This 'firmament' was held in place by the heat from the moon which was a geostationary (always directly opposite the sun) luminous body as hot as our sun in those days (very high helium 3 in moon rocks). This curtain of water ensured that the climate throughout the planet was uniform. Want references?


August 17, 2008 at 2:53 AM

Pseudo-scientist: yes please humour us with these pseudo-references...


August 18, 2008 at 3:50 PM

meekamoo, are you afraid I might be on to something you can exploit to feed your greed? You can find a reference for almost anything these days, so please make up your own mind.


August 19, 2008 at 12:47 AM

Feed my greed? The only greed I have is the greed for truth.

I'm not afraid you're on to anything, actually. It is the plain fact that I have already made up my own mind and thought for myself based on the research that I have done for myself using these so-freely available references that I am not afraid of anything you provide.

What I am afraid of though, is the possibility of being let down once again. Provide a good reference that cannot be refuted and I will be happy.

Please read up on Radiometric Dating methods. More specifically, Uranium-lead dating. The carbon 14 atom has only a half-life of about 5000 years so it is only used for dating materials in relatively short time scales. The dating ranges of uranium-lead dating are from about 1 million to 4.5 billion years old. It does not make use of the carbon 14 atom at all.


March 30, 2009 at 5:21 AM

They have dug up sneakers in back yards that they tested and dated them to be 180 million years B.C. These test are not as accurate as people think they are. Uranium and lead can not prove the date of everything they find. It is just a guess. Look it up they have found dinosaur and human foot print fossils together crossing paths. They can't explain it and it dates back to the same time. But wait I thought dinosaurs were before humans????


April 22, 2009 at 12:12 PM

Who is "They"?