This small marsupial lived in what is now Antarctica more than 40 million years ago.

Illustration by William H. Bond, National Geographic
  • On March 20, 1982, a team of scientists from the United States returned from a trip to Antarctica with interesting news: They found land-mammal fossils there. The fossils were identified as those of a marsupial, a type of mammal that carries its babies in a pouch. Kangaroos and koalas, native to Australia, are marsupials.

    The discovery provided evidence that the “supercontinent” Gondwana existed millions of years ago. Gondwana included parts of present-day Antarctica, Australia, South America, and Africa. There are many marsupials in Australia, and if they're also found on Antarctica, scientists theorized that the two continents were once connected.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    fossil Noun

    remnant, impression, or trace of an ancient organism.

    Encyclopedic Entry: fossil
    mammal Noun

    animal with hair that gives birth to live offspring. Female mammals produce milk to feed their offspring.

    supercontinent Noun

    ancient, giant landmass that split apart to form all the continents we know today.

    theorize Verb

    to formulate and propose a group of ideas to explain a scientific question.