Antarctica today is a cold, inhospitable desert; however, in the more distant past, the climate was much warmer. Abundant finds of fossil leaves and wood point to the existence of extensive forestation in earlier geological periods, even to within a few degrees of latitude of the South Pole itself. Dinosaurs, and later, marsupial mammals once roamed across its surface.

FossilLeaves and stems belonging to a fern (cf.Cladophlebis oblonga) from Alexander Island.