Africa separated from Antarctica in the Jurassic, around 160 Ma, followed by the Indian subcontinent in the early Cretaceous (about 125 Ma). By the end of the Cretaceous, about 66 Ma, Antarctica (then connected to Australia) still had a subtropical climate and flora, complete with a marsupial fauna. In the Eocene epoch, about 40 Ma Australia-New Guinea separated from Antarctica, so that latitudinal currents could isolate Antarctica from Australia, and the first ice began to appear. During the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event about 34 million years ago, CO2 levels have been found to be about 760 ppm and had been decreasing from earlier levels in the thousands of ppm.
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Around 23 Ma, the Drake Passage opened between Antarctica and South America, resulting in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current that completely isolated the continent. Models of the changes suggest that declining CO2 levels became more important.The ice began to spread, replacing the forests that until then had covered the continent.
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