Cenozoic Era 2: Neogene Period – New Routes for Life
- The Isthmus of Panama joins North and South America, cutting off warm currents flowing from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.
- The Indian subcontinent collides with Asia, pushing up the Himalayan Mountains.
- Sea levels fall, creating land bridges between Africa and Eurasia and between Eurasia and North America.
- The Mediterranean is created.
- Changes in sea circulation patterns drive evolution in the oceans, with new marine mammals and fish emerging, including the largest known shark, Otodusmegalodon.
- Grasslands and savannahs replace forests. Animals adapt to eating grass.
- The first human ancestors (hominins) appear in the fossil record in Africa ~7 million years ago.
Facts, Debates & Trivia
- The Neogene name is derived from the Greek for ‘New Birth’.
- The famous fossil hominid, ‘Lucy’, lived ~3 million years ago in northern Ethiopia. The researchers who found the fossil nicknamed her after the Beatle’s song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’.
- The global climate becomes seasonal.
- Ice caps appear at the poles. The first glacial event of the Ice Age begins.
23.03 – 2.58 million years ago
(20.45 million years)
Where have you reached on the trail?