The climate of parts of Antarctica was once sub-tropical like Queenland. A report, published in the journal Nature by an international group of scientists, was based on rock samples drilled under the sea floor off the continent.
Pollen and micro-fossils collected from 50 million years ago suggest summer temperatures then typically reached 27 degrees.
Ian Raine from GNS Science says the pollen and spores he identified, like palm trees and casuarina, were typical of mid-coast Queensland.
He says Antarctica has had ice only for the last 14 million years, and before that was much warmer, and ice-free.