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The Miocene Epoch Climate

During the Miocene period earth’s climate, had changed from cold to warm. In the Miocene epoch kelp forests appeared and became part of the earths most productive ecosystems. The Miocene epoch began 23.8 million years ago, and ended 5.3 million years ago (“The Miocene Epoch”. The Miocene Epoch. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2018.). Many plants and animals flourished during the Miocene period as climate and weather was perfect for life. Some animals that were flourishing during this period were Teuthidas, Cervidae, Elephantidae, Felidae, Canidae, Accipitridae, Corvidae, Crocodyidae, Boidae, and Salmonidae. Some plants that were flourishing include Orchidaceae, Poaceae, Pinophyta, Fagaceae, Pinales, Liliaceae, and Rosaceae (“Miocene Epoch Videos, News and Facts”. BBC Nature. BBC, n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2018.). During the Miocene epoch, life was mostly supported by Kelp forests and Grasslands. Grasslands allowed for more grazing mammals such as Horses and Deer. Ninety-five percent of modern plants existed by the end of the Miocene epoch.

The Miocene period was a time of warmer global climates than the preceding Oligocene. The Miocene warming began 21 million years ago, and continued until 14 million years ago. By 8 million years ago, temperatures dropped sharply once again, and the Atlantic ice sheet was approaching its present-day size. Greenland may have begun to have large glaciers as early as 7 to 8 million years ago, although the climate mostly remained warm enough to support forests (“Miocene epoch”. The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jan. 2018 .).

The biological change of the Miocene epoch allowed open vegetation systems such as tundra, deserts, and grasslands. This led to the divarication of temperate ecosystems and many changes in animal’s biology. Mammals and birds developed new forms, as fast-running herbivores, predatory mammals and birds, or small fast birds and rodents (“Miocene”. Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Jan. 2018. Web. 24 Jan. 2018.). Because the Miocene epoch is closer to present day than most other periods of time so it is easier to see the effects of events. Many of the fossils that we have found have close relatives that are alive today. During the Miocene period continents continued to drift toward their present positions. As South America approached the western subduction zone it caused both the rising of the Andes mountains and southward extension in the Mesoamerican peninsula. Mountain building occurred in western Europe, east Asia, and North America. During the Miocene epoch India continued to collide with Asia causing mountain ranges to form. The uplift of mountains in the western Mediterranean region and a fall in sea levels combined and caused drying up of the Mediterranean Sea known as the “Messinian salinity crisis”.

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 in the late Miocene period was partly responsible for the shrinking of the tropical rainforests in that region. Australia got drier when it entered a zone of low rainfall in the late Miocene period. The Miocene epoch was a very good period for life on earth as weather and climate were very suitable for life.

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