The fossilized remains of a single-celled plankton called dinoflagellates has revealed that the ecosystem of Antarctica is about 33.6 million years old. Researchers say that as the region began to cool around the end of the Eocene Epoch, plankton diversity decreased to only those that could survive the cold temperatures. "Our data suggest that this change may have promoted the evolution of modern baleen whales and penguins," said study researcher Jörg Pross, a paleoclimatologist at Goethe University in Germany.

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