Reconstructions of ancient polar environments
This picture was reconstructed from observations made by PhD student Jodie Howe during her PhD on these fossil forests, with input from Jane Francis and using published data from geologists of the British Antarctic Survey. It was painted by Robert Nicholls (Paleocreations.com). It is displayed in the headquarters of the British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge.
The picture shows forests that grew on the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula volcanic arc. The tree types include ginkgoes, podocarp conifers, araucarian conifers (monkey puzzle trees), ferns, bennettitalean cycad-like plants, a few mosses and liverworts and some very small flowering weeds. The extinct plant Taenopteris forms most of the undergrowth. The plants indicate that the climate was warm-temperate, even at ~70°S. Fossils of the small hypsilophodontid dinosaur that looks out from the undergrowth have been found further north on the Peninsula but the challenge is to find his presence in these forests.
NOTE: This picture can be used for educational purposes so long as the caption is included with the picture and full credits given. Please contact Jane Francis and Robert Nichols if you wish to use this picture. The picture may not be used for commercial purposes.