Lucy and the Monstrous Birds, Fanged Beasts and Ferocious Fish of the Pliocene Epoch | Ancient Origins Members Site


Lucy and the Monstrous Birds, Fanged Beasts and Ferocious Fish of the Pliocene Epoch

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Saber-toothed sparassodont †Thylacosmilus (with †Glyptodon and toxodonts in the background) (Public Domain)

Lucy and the Monstrous Birds, Fanged Beasts and Ferocious Fish of the Pliocene Epoch

In the geologic timescale that extends from 5.33 million to 2.58 million years ago, by universal standard, the Pliocene epoch was relatively recent, and it was at this time, when prehistoric life on Earth was adapting to a cooling climate, that mankind’s earliest ancestors emerged, facing monstrous adversaries. In seeking answers as to what Earth was like at this time, to put man’s early ancestors in an environmental context, one must venture through forests infested with ferocious beasts and swim in seas dominated by creatures beyond the wildest imagination.

Mid-Pliocene reconstructed annual sea surface temperature anomaly (Giorgiogp2 /CC BY-SA 3.0)

Mid-Pliocene reconstructed annual sea surface temperature anomaly (Giorgiogp2 /CC BY-SA 3.0)

During the Pliocene epoch the Earth supported tropical conditions similar to the equator today, but there were much more pronounced seasonal changes at northern and southern latitudes with average global temperatures of about seven or eight degrees (Fahrenheit), which is much higher than they are today. The Alaskan land bridge between Eurasia and North America reappeared and the Central American Isthmus formed joining North and South America and these events, and others, sparked a rapid migration of fauna between three giant continents.


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