After climate change and a continental drift brought the Paleogene period to an end, the Neogene Period started. During this time, life in the Cenozoic Era reached its peak, as the mammals and birds had diversified, and had started to evolve into the more modern creatures we see today; as well as this, this period is split into two major epochs, the Miocene (early Neogene) and Pliocene (late Neogene). During the Miocene, the climate started to slowly warm up until the end of the period, and life was supported by two newly-formed biomes at the time, kelp forests and grassy plains; the the gritty, fibrous plains grass allowed grazers like horses, hippos, and rhinos to diversify. Meanwhile, the brown algae in kelp forests allowed animals like otters, fish, and aquatic invertebrates to thrive; as well as this, whales had reached their zenith in diversity during this period, allowing giant oceanic macropredators like the famous Otodus megalodon to evolve. At the end of the Miocene, Africa saw the rise and diversification of the great apes, a family of primates that would soon lead to man. During the Pliocene, the climate had significantly cooled down (although it was still 2-3 degrees C warmer than today), and many landmasses saw a diversification and decline of various orders of mammals. Near the end of the Pliocene, North America and South America had formed a land bridge called the Isthmus of Panama, which allowed many South American animals to migrate to North America and vice versa; this event was called the Great American Interchange, and made a great impact on the habitat range of many families of animal. Soon, climate change would sweep this period, driving many species to extinction and giving rise to the Quaternary.

Lasted from 23.03-2.58 mya

Miocene Animals (note that those are not all the ones that exist)Edit

Pliocene Animals (note that those are not all the ones that exist)Edit

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