The Miocene era was a period in Earth’s history that lasted from 23.03 million to 5.33 million years ago. It is named after the Greek words “meion” meaning less and “kainos” meaning new, which reflects the idea that the Miocene era was a time of fewer new species emerging compared to the preceding epoch.
A long-lasting, steady cooling trend characterized the Miocene Era’s climate and lasted for millions of years. Changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun and variations in the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide content were to blame for this cooling. As a result, periods of extreme glaciation were followed by warmer interglacial eras on Earth.
The planet was far warmer than it is today during the early Miocene. In reality, the world was 3 to 6 degrees Celsius warmer than it is today. This warm environment made it possible for tropical flora to survive where there is now hard to find and for warm-blooded creatures to thrive. As the age went on, the climate started to cool, which caused the emergence of new habitats and the extinction of numerous species.
Life In The Miocene Era
Both the creation of several new species and the evolution of numerous already existing ones occurred throughout the Miocene Epoch. The appearance of modern apes, which includes humans, was one of the most noteworthy events of this time period. These apes developed as a result of the environment’s change, which was marked by the expansion of grasslands and the decline of forests. As a result, apes evolved a more upright posture and larger brains, which enabled them to become more intelligent and use tools.
The Miocene era also saw the evolution of numerous other species, such as horses, elephants, and whales, in addition to the appearance of contemporary apes. Horses developed larger legs to run faster across the grasslands, while whales evolved to dwell only in the ocean as a result of these creatures’ various environmental adaptations.
The Miocene era saw a number of important extinction events, despite the fact that it also saw major evolutionary advances. The disappearance of the sizable, land-dwelling mammals known as the rhinoceros-like hyracodonts was one of the most famous of these occurrences. Climate change and competition with other herbivores are likely to have contributed to this extinction event.
Geological Activity During The Miocene Era
With the creation of new mountain ranges and ocean basins, the Miocene era also saw a great deal of geological activity. The collision of the Indian and Asian tectonic plates during this time, for instance, resulted in the formation of the Himalayas. The monsoon system that exists now was created as a result of this catastrophe, which significantly altered the climate of the area.
The development of the Himalayas had a profound effect on the biodiversity of the area, resulting in the appearance of numerous new species that were adapted to mountain life. They include Himalayan monals, Tibetan antelopes, and snow leopards.
The natural world saw enormous change and innovation during the Miocene epoch. The growth of life on Earth was significantly influenced by the appearance of modern apes and the evolution of other species, and the geological activity of the time impacted the landscape we see today. Notwithstanding the extinction events that took place, the Miocene epoch was one of enormous diversity and adaptation, and it is still being researched by scientists to learn more about how the world we live in came to be.
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