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Transcript of Neogene Period
The Neogene Period
occurred between 23 and
2.6 million years ago
The Neogene Period
The Neogene period got its name to emphasize that the marine and terrestrial fossils found in the strata were closely related to the other periods such as the Paleogene Period. Neogene means “new born” and it’s widely used in Europe as a geologic division, and it is increasingly employed in North America
The Neogene Period follows the Paleogene Period and is succeeded by the Quaternary Period. The Neogene period is subdivided into two epochs, the earlier Miocene and the later Pliocene.
As opposed to the previous periods before, the climate was less hot and less humid. As the climate changed, forests evolved into grasslands and the weather became cooler and drier.
During the Neogene period, the Earth was not too different than it is today. This was when the first modern animals (sheep, cattle, birds, and monkeys) first appeared (Enchanted Learning).Animals that lived and thrived in these forests were forced to adapt to the changing geography. Those who could not adapt to these new conditions died. This led to the formation of the modern day sheep and cattle. Animals were now running faster and growing stronger teeth. In addition, this was the first time kale had been formed in the ocean (Fossil Facts and Finds).
During this time many of the famous mountains we know today were forming. Continents were colliding and mountains like the Himalayans were formed. Due to all of this continental collision, sea levels were much lower.
According to the National Geographic in 1996, the shoreline fell and sea-levels plummeted. Because of this, new land to emerge and panamas to become created.
Unlike today, the polar ice was much thicker and took up a lot of oceanic space. This ice allowed animals to migrate between continents (Fossil Facts and Finds). As the climate began to cool, the forests were quickly turning into grasslands.
The Neogene period started with the opening of many forests. They were replacing the previous grasslands and savannas from the Peloegene period. With this came further animal evolution and the rearrangement of continents into their current locations. There is no end to the Neogene period, as we are still in it today (Paselk).
The Neogene period is characterized as the time period in which many new continents formed and the cooling from the Paleogene period continued. In addition, the development of apes is considered one of the most important advances to take place during this period (Strauss).
Why were sea levels lower?
When the polar ice advanced, huge amounts of water became locked up in the ice. This caused sea levels to drop. Land once covered by water was left high and dry. During a time of advancing glaciers, the Bering land bridge revealed itself between Alaska and Siberia. This happened many times during the Quaternary Period—(Fossil Facts and finds)
According to National Geographic 1996, the Sea levels plummeted, exposing land bridges between Africa and Eurasia and between Eurasia and North America. Eventually, South America moved north and merged with North America, forming the Isthmus of Panama.
Sea levels were also lower due to the continental collision and the North and South Poles formed ice caps. The Polar ice thickened and took up space in the ocean (Fossil facts and finds).
In North America, low sea levels, particularly in the Mid-Miocene, and the accumulation of a permanent North Polar ice cap allowed at least an intermittent bridge to remain between North America and Greenland. The North Polar ice cap was restricted to the shallow waters of arctic Canada and Greenland and probably did not yet reach the pole itself. (Palaeos.org)
The global climate of the early portion of the Neogene Period was much warmer than it is today, and the overall climate of the Earth was much more consistent regardless of proximity to the equator,however, the earth cooled.
Certain changes in the water currents formed as a result of South America joining with North America. This cooled the Arctic and, combined with other factors, created the most recent Ice Age. After time, however, the ice melted and the climate began to be much as we know it today.
The cooling climate of the Paleogene Period continued into the Neogene Period. By the end of the Pliocene Epoch the earth was locked in an Ice Age. There were many reasons that this happened. The lower sea levels, new mountains and shifting ocean currents all contributed. Ice caps grew over the polar regions. They stretched far beyond their present locations.
Glaciers, growing from the ice caps, reached down as far as Ohio in the United States. The Pleistocene Epoch was beginning.
In other areas, the world began to dry out. In North America and Central Asia, massive deserts had developed.
The forests were replaced by arid plains, steppes, prairies, and tundras. Grasses that were low in nutrition but abundant in tooth-decaying materials flourished in place of forests. Transformations such as these forced species to either adapt or surrender their lives.
Throughout the geologic timescale earth had varying conditions, sometimes these conditions were somewhat hostile. For microorganisms such as bacteria to survive an environment rich with elements such as carbon and oxygen is simply necessary. However, with more complex organisms such as mammals a healthy ecosystem with lush vegetation, oxygen rich atmosphere, lack of extreme weather, and other organisms, which aid to said ecosystem is necessary.
In the Neogene period we see large continental shifts which lead to the connection, of other continents resulting in continental bridges. Life at time of the Neogene period had a variety of species which originally developed isolation however due to the change in continental arrangements species began to spread out to different corners of the planet.
Mountain ranges rose, as well as the sea level in certain areas fell due to new landforms. Cooler climates were the result of higher altitude mountains later altering the circulation of airflow. Making way for new life.
From a human’s perspective, life seems to begin with the evolution of early primates in the continent of Africa, during the early phases of the Neogene period. It is here that we see the early development of homosapiens, sometime around 2000,000 years ago. However, humans were not the only species present at this time, Earth was home to creatures ranging from the saber-tooth tigers who migrated to Africa all the way to the; Killfish species, of genus Aphanius and Aphanolebias which also migrated due to the continental shift during the time of the Neogene period, especially in the Mediterranean.
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