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The Miocene
Miocene
( /ˈmaɪəˌsiːn/[2][3]) is the first geological epoch of the Neogene
Neogene
Period and extends from about 23.03 to 5.333 million years ago (Ma). The Miocene
Miocene
was named by Charles Lyell; its name comes from the Greek words μείων (meiōn, “less”) and καινός (kainos, “new”)[4] and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene
Oligocene
and is followed by the Pliocene. As the earth went from the Oligocene
Oligocene
through the Miocene
Miocene
and into the Pliocene, the climate slowly cooled towards a series of ice ages. The Miocene
Miocene
boundaries are not marked by a single distinct global event but consist rather of regionally-defined boundaries between the warmer Oligocene
Oligocene
and the cooler Pliocene
Pliocene
Epoch. Apes arose and diversified during the Miocene, becoming widespread in the Old World. By the end of this epoch, the ancestors of humans had split away from the ancestors of the chimpanzees to follow their own evolutionary path (7.5 to 5.6 million years ago). As in the Oligocene
Oligocene
before it, grasslands continued to expand and forests to dwindle in extent. In the seas of the Miocene, kelp forests made their first appearance and soon became one of Earth's most productive ecosystems.[5] The plants and animals of the Miocene
Miocene
were recognizably modern. Mammals and birds were well-established. Whales, pinnipeds, and kelp spread. The Miocene
Miocene
is of particular interest to geologists and palaeoclimatologists as major phases of the geology of the Himalaya occurred during the Miocene, affecting monsoonal patterns in Asia, which were interlinked with glacial periods in the northern hemisphere.[6]

Contents

1 Subdivisions 2 Paleogeography

2.1 South America

3 Climate 4 Life

4.1 Flora 4.2 Fauna

5 Oceans 6 Middle Miocene disruption 7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

Subdivisions[edit]

Human timeline

view • discuss • edit

-10 — – -9 — – -8 — – -7 — – -6 — – -5 — – -4 — – -3 — – -2 — – -1 — – 0 —

Human-like apes

Nakalipithecus

Ouranopithecus

Sahelanthropus

Orrorin

Ardipithecus

Australopithecus

Homo habilis

Homo erectus

Neanderthal

Homo sapiens

Earlier apes

LCA-Gorilla separation

Possibly bipedal

LCA-Chimpanzee separation

Earliest bipedal

Earliest stone tools

Earliest exit from Africa

Earliest fire use

Earliest in Europe

Earliest cooking

Earliest clothes

Modern speech

Modern humans

P l e i s t o c e n e

P l i o c e n e

M i o c e n e

H

o

m

i

n

i

d

s

Axis scale: million years Also see: Life timeline and Nature timeline

The Miocene
Miocene
faunal stages from youngest to oldest are typically named according to the International Commission on Stratigraphy:[7]

Sub-epoch Faunal stage Time range

Late Miocene Messinian 7.246–5.333 Ma

Tortonian 11.608–7.246 Ma

Middle Miocene Serravallian 13.65–11.608 Ma

Langhian 15.97–13.65 Ma

Early Miocene Burdigalian 20.43–15.97 Ma

Aquitanian 23.03–20.43 Ma

Regionally, other systems are used, based on characteristic land mammals; some of them overlap with the preceding Oligocene
Oligocene
and following Pliocene
Pliocene
epochs: European Land Mammal Ages

Turolian (9.0 to 5.3 Ma) Vallesian
Vallesian
(11.6 to 9.0 Ma) Astaracian
Astaracian
(16.0 to 11.6 Ma) Orleanian
Orleanian
(20.0 to 16.0 Ma) Agenian (23.8 to 20.0 Ma)

North American Land Mammal Ages

Hemphillian (10.3 to 4.9 Ma) Clarendonian (13.6 to 10.3 Ma) Barstovian
Barstovian
(16.3 to 13.6 Ma) Hemingfordian (20.6 to 16.3 Ma) Arikareean (30.6 to 20.6 Ma)

South American Land Mammal Ages

Montehermosan (6.8 to 4.0 Ma) Huayquerian (9.0 to 6.8 Ma) Mayoan (11.8 to 9.0 Ma) Laventan (13.8 to 11.8 Ma) Colloncuran (15.5 to 13.8 Ma) Friasian (16.3 to 15.5 Ma) Santacrucian (17.5 to 16.3 Ma) Colhuehuapian (21.0 to 17.5 Ma)

Paleogeography[edit] Continents continued to drift toward their present positions. Of the modern geologic features, only the land bridge between South America and North America
North America
was absent, although South America
South America
was approaching the western subduction zone in the Pacific Ocean, causing both the rise of the Andes
Andes
and a southward extension of the Meso-American peninsula. Mountain building took place in western North America, Europe, and East Asia. Both continental and marine Miocene
Miocene
deposits are common worldwide with marine outcrops common near modern shorelines. Well studied continental exposures occur in the North American Great Plains and in Argentina. India
India
continued to collide with Asia, creating dramatic new mountain ranges. The Tethys Seaway continued to shrink and then disappeared as Africa
Africa
collided with Eurasia
Eurasia
in the Turkish–Arabian region between 19 and 12 Ma. The subsequent uplift of mountains in the western Mediterranean
Mediterranean
region and a global fall in sea levels combined to cause a temporary drying up of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea (known as the Messinian salinity crisis) near the end of the Miocene. The global trend was towards increasing aridity caused primarily by global cooling reducing the ability of the atmosphere to absorb moisture. Uplift of East Africa
Africa
in the late Miocene
Miocene
was partly responsible for the shrinking of tropical rain forests in that region, and Australia
Australia
got drier as it entered a zone of low rainfall in the Late Miocene. South America[edit] During the Oligocene
Oligocene
and Early Miocene large swathes of Patagonia
Patagonia
were subject to a marine transgression. The transgression might have temporarily linked the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as inferred from the findings of marine invertebrate fossils of both Atlantic and Pacific affinity in La Cascada Formation.[8][9] Connection would have occurred through narrow epicontinental seaways that formed channels in a dissected topography.[8][10] The Antarctic Plate
Antarctic Plate
started to subduct beneath South America
South America
14 million years ago in the Miocene, forming the Chile Triple Junction. At first the Antarctic Plate
Antarctic Plate
subducted only in the southernmost tip of Patagonia, meaning that the Chile Triple Junction lay near the Strait of Magellan. As the southern part of Nazca Plate
Nazca Plate
and the Chile Rise
Chile Rise
became consumed by subduction the more northerly regions of the Antarctic Plate
Antarctic Plate
begun to subduct beneath Patagonia
Patagonia
so that the Chile Triple Junction advanced to the north over time.[11] The asthenospheric window associated to the triple junction disturbed previous patterns of mantle convection beneath Patagonia inducing an uplift of ca. 1 km that reversed the Oligocene– Miocene
Miocene
transgression.[10][12] Climate[edit] Climates remained moderately warm, although the slow global cooling that eventually led to the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
glaciations continued. Although a long-term cooling trend was well underway, there is evidence of a warm period during the Miocene
Miocene
when the global climate rivalled that of the Oligocene. The Miocene
Miocene
warming began 21 million years ago and continued until 14 million years ago, when global temperatures took a sharp drop—the Middle Miocene Climate Transition (MMCT). By 8 million years ago, temperatures dropped sharply once again, and the Antarctic ice sheet
Antarctic ice sheet
was already approaching its present-day size and thickness. Greenland
Greenland
may have begun to have large glaciers as early as 7 to 8 million years ago,[citation needed] although the climate for the most part remained warm enough to support forests there well into the Pliocene. Life[edit] Life during the Miocene
Miocene
Epoch was mostly supported by the two newly formed biomes, kelp forests and grasslands. Grasslands allow for more grazers, such as horses, rhinoceroses, and hippos. Ninety five percent of modern plants existed by the end of this epoch. Flora[edit]

The dragon blood tree is considered a remnant of the Mio-Pliocene Laurasian subtropical forests that are now almost extinct in North Africa.[13]

The coevolution of gritty, fibrous, fire-tolerant grasses and long-legged gregarious ungulates with high-crowned teeth, led to a major expansion of grass-grazer ecosystems, with roaming herds of large, swift grazers pursued by predators across broad sweeps of open grasslands, displacing desert, woodland, and browsers. The higher organic content and water retention of the deeper and richer grassland soils, with long term burial of carbon in sediments, produced a carbon and water vapor sink. This, combined with higher surface albedo and lower evapotranspiration of grassland, contributed to a cooler, drier climate.[14] C4 grasses, which are able to assimilate carbon dioxide and water more efficiently than C3 grasses, expanded to become ecologically significant near the end of the Miocene
Miocene
between 6 and 7 million years ago.[15] The expansion of grasslands and radiations among terrestrial herbivores correlates to fluctuations in CO2.[16] Cycads between 11.5 and 5 m.y.a. began to rediversify after previous declines in variety due to climatic changes, and thus modern cycads are not a good model for a "living fossil".[17] Fauna[edit]

Cameloid footprint (Lamaichnum alfi Sarjeant and Reynolds, 1999; convex hyporelief) from the Barstow Formation (Miocene) of Rainbow Basin, California.

Both marine and continental fauna were fairly modern, although marine mammals were less numerous. Only in isolated South America
South America
and Australia
Australia
did widely divergent fauna exist. In the Early Miocene, several Oligocene
Oligocene
groups were still diverse, including nimravids, entelodonts, and three-toed equids. Like in the previous Oligocene
Oligocene
epoch, oreodonts were still diverse, only to disappear in the earliest Pliocene. During the later Miocene
Miocene
mammals were more modern, with easily recognizable canids, bears, procyonids, equids, beavers, deer, camelids, and whales, along with now extinct groups like borophagine canids, certain gomphotheres, three-toed horses, and semiaquatic and hornless rhinos like Teleoceras
Teleoceras
and Aphelops. Islands began to form between South and North America
North America
in the Late Miocene, allowing ground sloths like Thinobadistes
Thinobadistes
to island-hop to North America. The expansion of silica-rich C4 grasses led to worldwide extinctions of herbivorous species without high-crowned teeth.[18]

Miocene
Miocene
fauna of North America

A few basal mammal groups endured into this epoch in southern landmasses, including the south american dryolestoid Necrolestes
Necrolestes
and gondwanathere Patagonia
Patagonia
and New Zealand's Saint Bathans Mammal. Non-marsupial metatherians were also still around, such as the American and Eurasian herpetotheriids and peradectids such as Siamoperadectes, and the South American sparassodonts. Unequivocally recognizable dabbling ducks, plovers, typical owls, cockatoos and crows appear during the Miocene. By the epoch's end, all or almost all modern bird groups are believed to have been present; the few post- Miocene
Miocene
bird fossils which cannot be placed in the evolutionary tree with full confidence are simply too badly preserved, rather than too equivocal in character. Marine birds reached their highest diversity ever in the course of this epoch. Approximately 100 species of apes lived during this time, ranging throughout Africa, Asia
Asia
and Europe
Europe
and varying widely in size, diet, and anatomy. Due to scanty fossil evidence it is unclear which ape or apes contributed to the modern hominid clade, but molecular evidence indicates this ape lived between 7 and 8 million years ago.[19] The first hominins (bipedal apes of the human lineage) appeared in Africa at the very end of the Miocene, including Sahelanthropus, Orrorin, and an early form of Ardipithecus
Ardipithecus
(A. kadabba) The chimpanzee–human divergence is thought to have occurred at this time.[20] The expansion of grasslands in North America
North America
also led to an explosive radiation among snakes.[21] Previously, snakes were a minor component of the North American fauna, but during the Miocene, the number of species and their prevalence increased dramatically with the first appearances of vipers and elapids in North America
North America
and the significant diversification of Colubridae
Colubridae
(including the origin of many modern genera such as Nerodia, Lampropeltis, Pituophis
Pituophis
and Pantherophis).[21] In the oceans, brown algae, called kelp, proliferated, supporting new species of sea life, including otters, fish and various invertebrates. Cetaceans
Cetaceans
attained their greatest diversity during the Miocene,[22] with over 20 recognized genera in comparison to only six living genera.[23] This diversification correlates with emergence of gigantic macro-predators such as megatoothed sharks and raptorial sperm whales.[24] Prominent examples are C. megalodon and L. melvillei.[24] Other notable large sharks were C. chubutensis, Isurus hastalis, and Hemipristis serra. Crocodilians also showed signs of diversification during Miocene. The largest form among them was a gigantic caiman Purussaurus
Purussaurus
which inhabited South America.[25] Another gigantic form was a false gharial Rhamphosuchus, which inhabited modern age India. A strange form, Mourasuchus
Mourasuchus
also thrived alongside Purussaurus. This species developed a specialized filter-feeding mechanism, and it likely preyed upon small fauna despite its gigantic size. The pinnipeds, which appeared near the end of the Oligocene, became more aquatic. Prominent genus was Allodesmus.[26] A ferocious walrus, Pelagiarctos may have preyed upon other species of pinnipeds including Allodesmus. Furthermore, South American waters witnessed the arrival of Megapiranha
Megapiranha
paranensis, which were considerably larger than modern age piranhas.

New Zealand's Miocene
Miocene
fossil record is particularly rich. Marine deposits showcase a variety of cetaceans and penguins, illustrating the evolution of both groups into modern representatives. The early Miocene
Miocene
Saint Bathans Fauna
Fauna
is the only Cenozoic
Cenozoic
terrestrial fossil record of the landmass, showcasing a wide variety of not only bird species, including early representatives of clades such as moas, kiwis and adzebills, but also a diverse herpetofauna of sphenodontians, crocodiles and turtle as well as a rich terrestrial mammal fauna composed of various species of bats and the enigmatic Saint Bathans Mammal. Oceans[edit]

Fossils from the Calvert Formation, Zone 10, Calvert Co., MD (Miocene).

A Miocene
Miocene
crab (Tumidocarcinus giganteus) from the collection of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis

There is evidence from oxygen isotopes at Deep Sea Drilling Program sites that ice began to build up in Antarctica about 36 Ma during the Eocene. Further marked decreases in temperature during the Middle Miocene
Miocene
at 15 Ma probably reflect increased ice growth in Antarctica. It can therefore be assumed that East Antarctica had some glaciers during the early to mid Miocene
Miocene
(23–15 Ma). Oceans cooled partly due to the formation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and about 15 million years ago the ice cap in the southern hemisphere started to grow to its present form. The Greenland
Greenland
ice cap developed later, in the Middle Pliocene
Pliocene
time, about 3 million years ago. Middle Miocene disruption[edit] Main article: Middle Miocene disruption The " Middle Miocene disruption" refers to a wave of extinctions of terrestrial and aquatic life forms that occurred following the Miocene Climatic Optimum (18 to 16 Ma), around 14.8 to 14.5 million years ago, during the Langhian
Langhian
stage of the mid-Miocene. A major and permanent cooling step occurred between 14.8 and 14.1 Ma, associated with increased production of cold Antarctic deep waters and a major growth of the East Antarctic ice sheet. A Middle Miocene δ18O increase, that is, a relative increase in the heavier isotope of oxygen, has been noted in the Pacific, the Southern Ocean and the South Atlantic.[27] See also[edit]

Astaracian Turolian Vallesian Geologic time scale List of fossil sites Category: Miocene
Miocene
animals

References[edit]

^ "Tinescale Chart". www.stratigraphy.org.  ^ "Miocene". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House.  ^ "Miocene". Merriam-Webster
Merriam-Webster
Dictionary.  ^ "Miocene". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 2016-01-20.  ^ "BBC Nature - Miocene
Miocene
epoch videos, news and facts". BBC. Retrieved 2016-11-13.  ^ Zhisheng, An; Kutzbach, John E.; Prell, Warren L.; Porter, Stephen C. (3 May 2001). "Evolution of Asian monsoons and phased uplift of the Himalaya–Tibetan plateau since Late Miocene times". Nature. 411 (6833): 62–66. doi:10.1038/35075035.  ^ Robert A. Rohde (2005). "GeoWhen Database". Retrieved March 8, 2011.  ^ a b Encinas, Alfonso; Pérez, Felipe; Nielsen, Sven; Finger, Kenneth L.; Valencia, Victor; Duhart, Paul (2014). "Geochronologic and paleontologic evidence for a Pacific–Atlantic connection during the late Oligocene–early Miocene
Miocene
in the Patagonian Andes
Andes
(43–44°S)". Journal of South American Earth Sciences. 55: 1–18. doi:10.1016/j.jsames.2014.06.008.  ^ Nielsen, S.N. (2005). " Cenozoic
Cenozoic
Strombidae, Aporrhaidae, and Struthiolariidae (Gastropoda, Stromboidea) from Chile: their significance to biogeography of faunas and climate of the south-east Pacific". Journal of Paleontology. 79: 1120–1130. doi:10.1666/0022-3360(2005)079[1120:csaasg]2.0.co;2.  ^ a b Guillame, Benjamin; Martinod, Joseph; Husson, Laurent; Roddaz, Martin; Riquelme, Rodrigo (2009). " Neogene
Neogene
uplift of central eastern Patagonia: Dynamic response to active spreading ridge subduction?". Tectonics. 28.  ^ Cande, S.C.; Leslie, R.B. (1986). "Late Cenozoic
Cenozoic
Tectonics of the Southern Chile Trench". Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth and Planets. 91: 471–496. Bibcode:1986JGR....91..471C. doi:10.1029/jb091ib01p00471.  ^ Guillaume, Benjamin; Gautheron, Cécile; Simon-Labric, Thibaud; Martinod, Joseph; Roddaz, Martin; Douville, Eric (2013). "Dynamic topography control on Patagonian relief evolution as inferred from low temperature thermochronology". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 3: 157–167.  ^ Attorre, F.; Francesconi, F.; Taleb, N.; Scholte, P.; Saed, A.; Alfo, M.; Bruno, F. (2007). "Will dragonblood survive the next period of climate change? Current and future potential distribution of Dracaena cinnabari
Dracaena cinnabari
(Socotra, Yemen)". Biological Conservation. 138 (3–4): 430–439. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.05.009.  ^ Retallack, Gregory (2001). " Cenozoic
Cenozoic
Expansion of Grasslands and Climatic Cooling" (PDF). The Journal of Geology. University of Chicago Press. 109 (4): 407–426. Bibcode:2001JG....109..407R. doi:10.1086/320791. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-06.  ^ Osborne, C.P.; Beerling, D.J. (2006). "Nature's green revolution: the remarkable evolutionary rise of C4 plants". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 361 (1465): 173–194. doi:10.1098/rstb.2005.1737. PMC 1626541 . PMID 16553316.  ^ Wolfram M. Kürschner, Zlatko Kvacek & David L. Dilcher (2008). "The impact of Miocene
Miocene
atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuations on climate and the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 105 (2): 449–53. Bibcode:2008PNAS..105..449K. doi:10.1073/pnas.0708588105. PMC 2206556 . PMID 18174330.  ^ Susanne S. Renner (2011). "Living fossil younger than thought". Science. 334 (6057): 766–767. Bibcode:2011Sci...334..766R. doi:10.1126/science.1214649. PMID 22076366.  ^ Steven M. Stanley (1999). Earth System History. New York: Freeman. pp. 525–526. ISBN 0-7167-2882-6.  ^ Yirka, Bob (August 15, 2012). "New genetic data shows humans and great apes diverged earlier than thought". phys.org.  ^ Begun, David. "Fossil Record of Miocene
Miocene
Hominoids" (PDF). University of Toronto. Retrieved July 11, 2014.  ^ a b Holman, J. Alan (2000). Fossil Snakes of North America
North America
(First ed.). Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. pp. 284–323. ISBN 0253337216.  ^ Peter Klimley & David Ainley (1996). Great White Sharks: the Biology of Carcharodon carcharias. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-415031-4.  ^ Alton C. Dooley Jr., Nicholas C. Fraser & Zhe-Xi Luo (2004). "The earliest known member of the rorqual–gray whale clade (Mammalia, Cetacea)" (PDF). Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 24 (2): 453–463. doi:10.1671/2401. [permanent dead link] ^ a b Olivier Lambert; Giovanni Bianucci; Klaas Post; Christian de Muizon; Rodolfo Salas-Gismondi; Mario Urbina; Jelle Reumer (2010). "The giant bite of a new raptorial sperm whale from the Miocene
Miocene
epoch of Peru". Nature. 466 (7302): 105–108. Bibcode:2010Natur.466..105L. doi:10.1038/nature09067. PMID 20596020.  ^ Orangel A. Aguilera, Douglas Riff & Jean Bocquentin-Villanueva (2006). "A new giant Pusussaurus (Crocodyliformes, Alligatoridae) from the Upper Miocene
Miocene
Urumaco Formation, Venezuela" (PDF). Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. 4 (3): 221–232. doi:10.1017/S147720190600188X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-29.  ^ Lawrence G. Barnes & Kiyoharu Hirota (1994). " Miocene
Miocene
pinnipeds of the otariid subfamily Allodesminae in the North Pacific Ocean: systematics and relationships". Island Arc. 3 (4): 329–360. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1738.1994.tb00119.x.  ^ Kenneth G. Miller & Richard G. Fairbanks (1983). "Evidence for Oligocene− Middle Miocene abyssal circulation changes in the western North Atlantic". Nature. 306 (5940): 250–253. Bibcode:1983Natur.306..250M. doi:10.1038/306250a0. 

Further reading[edit]

Cox, C. Barry & Moore, Peter D. (1993): Biogeography. An ecological and evolutionary approach (5th ed.). Blackwell Scientific Publications, Cambridge. ISBN 0-632-02967-6 Ogg, Jim (2004): "Overview of Global Boundary Stratotype Sections and Points (GSSP's)". Retrieved 2006-04-30.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Miocene.

Wikisource has original works on the topic: Cenozoic#Neogene

PBS Deep Time: Miocene UCMP Berkeley Miocene
Miocene
Epoch Page Miocene
Miocene
Microfossils: 200+ images of Miocene
Miocene
Foraminifera Human Timeline (Interactive) – Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History (August 2016).

v t e

Neogene
Neogene
Period

Miocene
Miocene
Epoch Pliocene
Pliocene
Epoch

Aquitanian Burdigalian Langhian Serravallian Tortonian Messinian

Zanclean Piacenzian

v t e

Geologic history of Earth

Cenozoic
Cenozoic
era¹ (present–66.0 Mya)

Quaternary
Quaternary
(present–2.588 Mya)

Holocene
Holocene
(present–11.784 kya) Pleistocene
Pleistocene
(11.784 kya–2.588 Mya)

Neogene
Neogene
(2.588–23.03 Mya)

Pliocene
Pliocene
(2.588–5.333 Mya) Miocene
Miocene
(5.333–23.03 Mya)

Paleogene (23.03–66.0 Mya)

Oligocene
Oligocene
(23.03–33.9 Mya) Eocene
Eocene
(33.9–56.0 Mya) Paleocene
Paleocene
(56.0–66.0 Mya)

Mesozoic
Mesozoic
era¹ (66.0–251.902 Mya)

Cretaceous
Cretaceous
(66.0–145.0 Mya)

Late (66.0–100.5 Mya) Early (100.5–145.0 Mya)

Jurassic
Jurassic
(145.0–201.3 Mya)

Late (145.0–163.5 Mya) Middle (163.5–174.1 Mya) Early (174.1–201.3 Mya)

Triassic
Triassic
(201.3–251.902 Mya)

Late (201.3–237 Mya) Middle (237–247.2 Mya) Early (247.2–251.902 Mya)

Paleozoic
Paleozoic
era¹ (251.902–541.0 Mya)

Permian
Permian
(251.902–298.9 Mya)

Lopingian
Lopingian
(251.902–259.8 Mya) Guadalupian
Guadalupian
(259.8–272.3 Mya) Cisuralian
Cisuralian
(272.3–298.9 Mya)

Carboniferous
Carboniferous
(298.9–358.9 Mya)

Pennsylvanian (298.9–323.2 Mya) Mississippian (323.2–358.9 Mya)

Devonian
Devonian
(358.9–419.2 Mya)

Late (358.9–382.7 Mya) Middle (382.7–393.3 Mya) Early (393.3–419.2 Mya)

Silurian
Silurian
(419.2–443.8 Mya)

Pridoli (419.2–423.0 Mya) Ludlow (423.0–427.4 Mya) Wenlock (427.4–433.4 Mya) Llandovery (433.4–443.8 Mya)

Ordovician
Ordovician
(443.8–485.4 Mya)

Late (443.8–458.4 Mya) Middle (458.4–470.0 Mya) Early (470.0–485.4 Mya)

Cambrian
Cambrian
(485.4–541.0 Mya)

Furongian (485.4–497 Mya) Series 3 (497–509 Mya) Series 2 (509–521 Mya) Terreneuvian
Terreneuvian
(521–541.0 Mya)

Proterozoic
Proterozoic
eon² (541.0 Mya–2.5 Gya)

Neoproterozoic era (541.0 Mya–1 Gya)

Ediacaran
Ediacaran
(541.0-~635 Mya) Cryogenian (~635-~720 Mya) Tonian (~720 Mya-1 Gya)

Mesoproterozoic era (1–1.6 Gya)

Stenian (1-1.2 Gya) Ectasian (1.2-1.4 Gya) Calymmian (1.4-1.6 Gya)

Paleoproterozoic era (1.6–2.5 Gya)

Statherian (1.6-1.8 Gya) Orosirian
Orosirian
(1.8-2.05 Gya) Rhyacian (2.05-2.3 Gya) Siderian
Siderian
(2.3-2.5 Gya)

Archean
Archean
eon² (2.5–4 Gya)

Eras

Neoarchean (2.5–2.8 Gya) Mesoarchean (2.8–3.2 Gya) Paleoarchean
Paleoarchean
(3.2–3.6 Gya) Eoarchean
Eoarchean
(3.6–4 Gya)

Hadean
Hadean
eon² (4–4.6 Gya)

 

 

kya = thousands years ago. Mya = millions years ago. Gya = billions years ago.¹ = Phanerozoic
Phanerozoic
eon. ² = Precambrian
Precambrian
supereon. Source: (2017/02). International Commission on Stratigraphy. Retrieved 13 July 2015. Divisions of Geologic Time—Major Chronostratigraphic and Geochronologic Units USGS Retrieved 10 March 2013.

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