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Scientists Uncover Huge Trove of 71 million-year-old Fossils in Antarctica

May 10, 2016 01:46 AM EDT
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A team of international scientists have unearthed a ton of fossils that are dated back between 71 million and 64 million years ago in the hard to reach region of Antarctica.

In addition to dinosaur fossils, researchers were also able to excavate remains of early ducks. Most of their one ton-haul is fossils belonging to marine reptiles, including fossilized remains of plesiosaurs and mosasaurs.

The discovery of the huge trove of fossils was not an easy task. Researchers needed to overcome extreme weather conditions and icy obstacles just to reach the targeted region.

With his uncanny stubbornness, Dr. Steve Salisbury didn't give up after several failed attempts to research the region due to sea ice blocking the path. Using a huge icebreaker, two helicopters, and Zodiac inflatable boats, Dr. Salisbury, with his team of 11 scientists from Australia, South Africa and United States, has finally reached his destination, the James Ross Island, according to  Christian Science Monitor.

Researchers chose the James Ross Island because it is one of the few regions in Antarctica uncovered during summer months.

For their research, Dr. Salisbury and his team camped for almost five weeks on Vega Island between February and March. From the camp, they hiked about 10 kilometers of mountainous terrain every day to reach their main excavation site on Sandwich Bluff.

While on Antarctica, the researchers also conducted geological mapping of the area, recording the thickness of all the different rocks and information on the sorts of environments that they represent. By doing so, researchers can create a picture of the environment down there at the time the excavated animals existed.

According to the report from Daily Mail, the excavated fossils are currently located in Chile, waiting for its shipment to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Penn. Once the fossils reached the museum, it will undergo substantial preparation and analysis. The researchers are hoping to finish their research and publish their findings in tow year time.

Dr Steve Salisbury - Antarctica expedition from The University of Queensland on Vimeo.

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