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The researchers now think that the creatures inhabited ponds and streams in the Transantarctic Mountains, roughly 50 kilometres from Lake Mercer, during brief warm periods in which the glaciers receded — either in the past 10,000 years, or 120,000 years ago.
Later, as the climate cooled, ice smothered these oases of animal life.
Drastic steps are needed to stop that from happening, otherwise we'll be back to the Pliocene era – or maybe even further.
While some aspects of the changing climate are now inevitable, a study earlier this year showed there could still be a chance to limit temperature rises, although the window is closing fast.
Summertime temperatures in Antarctica would have been around 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), compared with the -15 to -20 degrees Celsius (5 to -4 degrees Fahrenheit) they are today.
At the current rate of emissions, the researchers suggest, we could be up to 1,000 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere.
A group of scientists have came together to discuss what we can learn about the environment by peering back into Earth's history.And scientists are staring down the barrel of this new climate reality, as emphasised by palaeoclimate scientist Alan Haywood from the University of Leeds."After studying the Pliocene for 21 years, and all things being equal in the decades ahead, I will experience first hand a climate state that has not existed for more than three million years," he said.