- Last and shortest epoch of the Tertiary Period, from с 5.3 to с 1.8 million years ago. It follows the Miocene Epoch and precedes the Pleistocene Epoch of the Quaternary Period. Pliocene environments were generally cooler and drier than those of preceding Tertiary epochs. In general, Pliocene mammals grew larger than those of earlier epochs. The more advanced primates continued to evolve, and it is possible that the australopithecines (see Australopithecus), the first creatures that can be termed human, developed late in the Pliocene.
* * *second of four major worldwide divisions of the Neogene Period, spanning the interval from about 5.3 million to 1.8 million years ago. It is often divided into the Early Pliocene Epoch (5.3 million to 3.6 million years ago) and the Late Pliocene Epoch (3.6 million to 1.8 million years ago). The Pliocene followed the Miocene Epoch and was succeeded by the Pleistocene Epoch and is further subdivided into three ages and their corresponding rock stages: the Zanclean (Zanclean Stage), the Piacenzian (Piacenzian Stage), and the Gelasian .Pliocene terrestrial and marine deposits are known throughout the world. For example, Early Pliocene marine deposits are well known from the Mediterranean region, and Late Pliocene marine deposits can be found in Britain and the Atlantic coastal plain of North America. The Siwalik Range of India and Pakistan and the Henan and Shanxi provinces of China also contain Pliocene terrestrial deposits.Pliocene environments were generally cooler and drier than those of preceding epochs, as revealed by the remains of plants and trees, but marine records indicate that an interval around 3.0–3.5 million years ago may have been a relatively warm period, at least in the North Atlantic.A very modern aspect is seen in Pliocene terrestrial vertebrate faunas of the Northern Hemisphere. Older groups of animals became extinct throughout the preceding Miocene Epoch. Although similarities are evident between the faunas of Eurasia and North America, little faunal interchange appears to have occurred between the two regions. The similarities are probably due to the continuation of forms that migrated between the two areas late in the Miocene. It is likely that during the Early Pliocene a remarkably homogeneous fauna existed from Spain and Africa to China. Mastodons (mastodon) (elephant-like animals) underwent a great evolutionary diversification during the Pliocene, and many variant forms developed, adapted to varying ecological environments. In North America, rhinoceroses (rhinoceros) became extinct. Camels (camel), some of large size, were abundant and diverse, as were horses (horse).The more-advanced primates (primate) continued to evolve in the Pliocene, with australopithecines (Australopithecus), the first creatures that can be termed human, appearing early in the epoch. A burst of particularly rapid evolutionary change and diversification in primates, as well as other African mammals, appears to have occurred around 2.5 million years ago, possibly connected to drying associated with the expansion of northern hemisphere glaciers around this time. The land connection between North and South America became reestablished in the mid-Pliocene, around 3.5 million years ago, allowing a number of terrestrial mammals including ground sloths (xenarthran), glyptodonts (Glyptodon) (large, armadillo-like, armoured animals), armadillos (armadillo), opossums (opossum), and porcupines (porcupine) to appear in the Late Pliocene fossil record of North America. (Previously, they had been isolated on the South American continent.)Marine faunas (including corals (coral), predatory gastropods (gastropod), and others) in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean experienced a period of transition during the Late Pliocene, with many forms becoming extinct and others appearing for the first time. These changes have been attributed to variations in both temperature and oceanic nutrient supplies in the region.
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Pliocene epoch — noun from 13 million to 2 million years ago; growth of mountains; cooling of climate; more and larger mammals • Syn: ↑Pliocene • Instance Hypernyms: ↑epoch • Part Holonyms: ↑Tertiary, ↑Tertiary period … Useful english dictionary
Pliocene — [plī′ə sēn΄] adj. [ PLIO + CENE] [sometimes p ] designating or of the second and last geologic epoch of the Neogene, characterized by the joining of what are now North and South America, the formation of the Arctic ice cap, the extensive… … English World dictionary
Pliocene — The Pliocene epoch (spelled Pleiocene in some older texts) is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.332 million to 1.806 million years before present.The Pliocene is the second epoch of the Neogene period in the Cenozoic era.… … Wikipedia
epoch — /ep euhk/ or, esp. Brit., /ee pok/, n. 1. a particular period of time marked by distinctive features, events, etc.: The treaty ushered in an epoch of peace and good will. 2. the beginning of a distinctive period in the history of anything: The… … Universalium
Pliocene — /pluy euh seen /, Geol. adj. 1. noting or pertaining to an epoch of the Tertiary Period, occurring from 10 to 2 million years ago, and characterized by increased size and numbers of mammals, by the growth of mountains, and by global climatic… … Universalium
Pliocene — 1. adjective Of a geologic epoch within the Neogene period from about 5.3 to 1.7 million years ago; marked by the appearance of mans first ancestors. 2. noun The Pliocene epoch … Wiktionary
Pliocene — Pli•o•cene [[t]ˈplaɪ əˌsin[/t]] adj. 1) gel noting or pertaining to an epoch of the Tertiary Period, occurring from ten million to two million years ago when mammalian life was proliferating and climatic cooling had begun 2) gel the Pliocene… … From formal English to slang
Pliocene — ► ADJECTIVE Geology ▪ relating to the last epoch of the Tertiary period (between the Miocene and Pleistocene epochs, 5.2 to 1.64 million years ago), a time when the first hominids appeared. ORIGIN from Greek plei n more + kainos new … English terms dictionary
Pliocene — adjective Date: 1831 of, relating to, or being the latest epoch of the Tertiary or the corresponding series of rocks see geologic time table • Pliocene noun … New Collegiate Dictionary
Pliocene — The last epoch (from 1.6 to 5.2 million years ago) of the Tertiary Period of geologic time that follows the Miocene and precedes the Pleistocene Epoch; also, the corresponding (time stratigraphic) series of earth materials. HP … Glossary of landform and geologic terms