An analysis of 42 million year old fossilised micro-organisms at Hampden Beach, near the Moeraki Boulders in North Otago, New Zealand, suggests that Antarctica at that time was yet to develop extensive ice sheets.
Back then, New Zealand was about 1100km further south, closer to Antarctica, at the same latitude as the southern tip of South America.
But, the researchers found that the water temperature was 23degC - 25degC at the sea surface and 11degC-13degC at the bottom.
"This is too warm to be the Antarctic water we know today," said Dr Catherine Burgess from Cardiff University's School of Earth and Ocean Sciences.
Click here to find out more from Stuff Magazine, New Zealand.
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