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Miocene

From Academic Kids

The Miocene epoch is a period of time that extends from about 23 to 5.3 million years before the present. As with other older geologic periods, the rock beds that define the start and end are well identified, but the exact dates of the start and end of the period are uncertain. The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell and the name means roughly "less recent", referring to a period encompassing the essentially modern mammalian faunas. The Miocene follows the Oligocene Epoch and is followed by the Pliocene Epoch. The Miocene is the first epoch of the Neogene period.

The Miocene boundaries are not set at an easily identified worldwide event but rather at regional boundaries between the warmer Oligocene and the cooler Pliocene.

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Contents

Miocene Subdivisions

The Miocene faunal stages from youngest to oldest are:

Messinian (7.246 – 5.332 MYA)
Tortonian (11.608 – 7.246 MYA)
Serravallian (13.65 – 11.608 MYA)
Langhian (15.97 – 13.65 MYA)
Burdigalian (20.43 – 15.97 MYA)
Aquitanian (23.03 – 20.43 MYA)

The subdivisions within the Miocene are defined by the relative abundance of different species of calcareous nanofossils (calcite platelets shed by brown single-celled algae) and foraminifera (single-celled protists with diagnostic shells).

Miocene Climate

Climates remained moderately warm although slow global cooling that eventual led to the Pleistocene glaciations continued.

Miocene Paleogeography

Continents continued to drift toward their present positions. Of the modern geologic features, only the land bridge between South America and North America was absent.

Mountain building took place in Western North America and Europe. Both continental and marine Miocene deposits are common worldwide with marine outcrops common near modern shorelines. Well studied continental exposures occur in the American Great Plains and in Argentina.

Miocene Flora

Grasses begin to spread, and along with them grazing herbivores develop.

Miocene Fauna

Both marine and continental fauna were fairly modern. Only in isolated South America and Australia did widely divergent fauna exist.

Mammals

Recognizable wolves, horses, beaver, deer, camels, whales etc. existed in the Miocene.

Birds

Recognizable crows, ducks, and owls appear in the Miocene.

Miocene Oceans

The oceans continue cooling, and brown algae plants, called kelp, proliferate, supporting new species of sea life, including otters, fish and other invertebrates.

See also

External References

de:Miozn fr:Miocne it:Miocene he:מיוקן nl:Mioceen ja:中新世 pl:Miocen pt:Mioceno

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