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Rare fossil discovered in Antarctic

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  • Rare fossil discovered in Antarctic region gives clues to global warming
  • Fossils found in an ancient lake -- 14 million years old -- in Dry Valleys
  • Find shows "substantial and very intense cooling of Antarctic climate"
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(CNN) -- A new fossil discovery provides evidence that the Antarctic continent was once much warmer than today and may have been able to sustain life.

The discovery of a fossil in the Antarctic region helping scientists understand the effects of global warming.

The fossils (ostracods) were discovered in the Dry Valleys of the East Antarctic region. They were found in an ancient lake -- 14 million years old -- and are exceptionally well preserved.

Dr. Mark Williams from the Department of Geology at the University of Leicester said: "This is a rare occurrence in the fossil record -- but it is the first of its kind from the whole Antarctic continent.

"The fossils show that there has been a substantial and very intense cooling of the Antarctic climate after this time interval that is important for tracking the development of the Antarctic icesheet -- a key factor in understanding the effects of global warming."

A team of international scientists from the University of Leicester, North Dakota State University, the British Geological Survey, Queen Mary University of London, and Boston University made the discovery. Their findings were published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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