The Antarctica blooms?

In the last days, the image that can be seen below this paragraph has been spread through social networks, which has generated great concern among Internet users because “Antarctica blooms because it is melting”.

Iceberg and flowers. Flowers on the shore. Nature and landscapes of Greenland. West Greenland. Disko Bay, imagen tomada por “Sergey Uryadnikov”, taken from the website Dreamstime: https://www.dreamstime.com/iceberg-flowers-shore-nature-landscapes-greenland-west-disko-bay-image139754379

Such you can see in the image’s description, the photography does not correspond to Antarctica, instead to the “Disko Bay” (also called Disko Bugt) located in western Greenland. Actually, you can verify the origin of the image by searching in the Google search: “Disko Bay flowers”.

Screenshot of Google images (Google is in Spanish), taken by author.

Despite what has already been mentioned, Antarctica does have flowers, or rather, native species of flowering plants, being one of these Colobanthus quitensis, an Angiosperm (plant with flowers) belonging to the aforementioned continent, where it can be observed forming small bushes of several individuals.

Photography of Colobanthus quitensis, taken from Wikipedia: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Antarctic_Pearlwort2.jpg

In addition, the species C. quitensis can also be found throughout the American continent (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, etc.); a botany professor once told me that plants with the ability to adapt to different types of terrain are known as “generalist” plants, like grasses. So yes, Antarctica already had its own flora, but that doesn’t mean the crisis doesn’t exist; with or without flowers, Antarctica continues to melt, and it will continue to do so if we humans do not change our consumption habits.

WARNING: I am not blaming or cursing the current capitalist system, which is no secret to anyone that it is the main driver of consumerism, but remember that consumption habits are governed by ourselves; each of us has the freedom over his own habits and each one must make the decision if we want (and are willing) to change them to save the planet.

You are probably wondering now, what does this have to do with paleontology?, or what use are the species of the past for a current climate crisis?

The species are the ones who define the environment; if the species are not known, it will be impossible to determine what the climates of the past were like, and therefore it would not be possible to know how to face the current crisis.

References:

— THE HERBARIUM OF ANTARCTIC VASCULAR PLANTS. www.terreco.univ.kiev.ua.

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