What did the world look like when Ida lived?
50 million years ago, the continents had begun to find their present shape. But we can see that Europe was not one continuous land mass, the way it is today. It was rather a cluster of islands, not unlike today’s Indonesia.
Do we know anything about how hot it was?
Yes, we do. We have both fossils and other geological data from this period from sites all over the world, and based on what we know of various species and their descendants we can determine with a great degree of certainty what the climate was like at different places on Earth.
|In these locations, fossils of crocodiles have been found. They only live in warm regions|
|Fossils of palms and other plants requiring a warm climate are found here|
|This symbol indicates large coal deposits. Coal is formed in locations which used to be marshes|
|In these locations, evaporites have been found – i.e., salt deposits which are formed when lakes and seas dry up. These places must have been hot and dry|
Based on these finds, we can conclude that the climate on Earth during the Eocene – when Ida was alive – was like this: