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Neogene


The Neogene (pronunciation: /ˈnəˌn/) is a geologic period and system that spans 20.45 million years from the end of the Paleogene Period 23.03 million years ago (Mya) to the beginning of the present Quaternary Period 2.58 Mya. The Neogene is sub-divided into two epochs, the earlier Miocene and the later Pliocene. Some geologists assert that the Neogene cannot be clearly delineated from the modern geological period, the Quaternary.

During this period, mammals and birds continued to evolve into roughly modern forms, while other groups of life remained relatively unchanged. Early hominids, the ancestors of humans, appeared in Africa near the end of the period. Some continental movement took place, the most significant event being the connection of North and South America at the Isthmus of Panama, late in the Pliocene. This cut off the warm ocean currents from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean, leaving only the Gulf Stream to transfer heat to the Arctic Ocean. The global climate cooled considerably over the course of the Neogene, culminating in a series of continental glaciations in the Quaternary Period that follows.


Neogene Period
23.03–2.58 million years ago
N
Mean atmospheric O
2
content over period duration
c. 21.5 vol %
(108 % of modern level)
Mean atmospheric CO
2
content over period duration
c. 280 ppm
(1 times pre-industrial level)
Mean surface temperature over period duration c. 14 °C
(0 °C above modern level)

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