SMU Earth Sciences, Antarctica

Earth Sciences master’s student Chris Strganac, doctoral student Yosuke Nishida and Professor Louis Jacobs are part of a team traveling to Antarctica to discover 120 million-year-old mammal fossils from Livingston Island and other places around the Antarctic Peninsula.
They hope to link the evolutionary history of mammals across South America to Africa and Australia through ancient Antarctica when climates were warmer. So far in their journey, as chronicled by Chris, they have found ancient plants, but mammal remains have been elusive. They are still looking…

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Sharing treats in Esperanza

Chris%20-%20photo6.jpgThe remainder of the stops in Antarctica would be for Team Barbeau. These sites were around Esperanza, a year-round Argentine settlement on the Antarctic Peninsula. The first day we arrived many of us on the LMG went ashore for a tour of the base, while many families from Esperanza went to the LMG for a tour of the ship.

As we left the town of Esperanza, the families returned – their arms full of cookies, candies, and chips from the ship, smiles on their faces. We heard the kids hadn’t had yogurt in six months.

Chris-photo2.jpgThe following day Chris joined Team Barbeau to hike up Mount Flora. Mount Flora gets its name (we presume) from the Jurassic plant fossils on the mountain. Around Esperanza and Mount Flora, thousands of Adelie penguins cover the landscape, squawking, “porpoising” in the water and waddling up to greet us. A couple penguins look confused as they jump into a Zodiac.

Leaving Esperanza, the thought strikes us that the winter in Dallas we will feel in a week will be much warmer than the summer we had this past month in Antarctica.

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