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The Miocene Epoch
Some Evidence of Mammal Life in the Miocene

 

 
 
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The Miocene Epoch is a period of geologic time that has been estimated to have occurred between 5.3 and 23 million years before the present (Wikipedia).   It was almost 18 million years long, making it the longest epoch of the Neogene period.   The fossil evidence indicates that the Miocene had warmer global climates than those of the preceding Oligocene, or the following Pliocene.   Climate has much influence on the development of  life.   Some evidence of life during the Miocene Epoch is presented below:

 

Miocene horse(Merychippus sejunctus

Miocene horse (Merychippus sejunctus) from Georges Creek, Colorado, USA.   Merychippus lived in herds and grazed.   Individuals were about 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall and had three toes on each foot.   It lived between 11 and 17 million years ago during the Miocene Epoch.   The fossil skeleton and sketch are as exhibited at the Amherst College Museum of Natural History, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA.   Photo by Flo Bruehl, October 29, 2006.



Early Miocene Oreodont  (Merychoerus superbus).   This mammal was a North American native and a relative of the camel.   This is a heavy-bodied specimen found in Wyoming.   Its nasal structure suggests that it had a short trunk-like proboscis, like a tapir.   The fossil evidence indicates that it frequented marsh or riverine habitats.  The fossil skeleton is as exhibited at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.   Photo by Flo Bruehl, July 19, 2008.



Early Miocene Chalicothere  (Moropus cooki).   This "Hoofed Mammal with Claws" lived in Wyoming about 20 million years ago.   It has been considered one of the most unusual mammals to have existed.   The fossil evidence indicates that tapirs and rhinos may be their closest living relatives.   The fossil skeleton is as exhibited at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.   Photo by Flo Bruehl, July 19, 2008.



Water-Loving Rhinoceros of the Miocene (Teleoceras fossiger).   This specimen is from Kansas where it may have lived much like modern hippo, possibly wallowing in water throughout the day and coming out at night to graze on land.   It had teeth well suited to a diet of grasses.   Its fossil remains occur with great abundance in Miocene-age river channels throughout the North American plains.   The fossil skeleton is as exhibited at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.   Photo by Flo Bruehl, July 19, 2008.



Early Miocene Rhinoceras (Menoceras arikarense).   This species was small (pig-sized).   The fossil remains were recovered from the Agate Springs Bonebed along the Niobrara River in western Nebraska.   The slab of fossil bones shown below the Menoceras skeleton is a small part of an extensive concentration of fossils along the Niobrara River.   While other species of mammals are represented, the large majority are of the Menoceras.   It has been theorized that this incredible accumulation of bones resulted from a mass die-off druing a period of prolonged drought.   The fossil skeleton and "bonebed" are as exhibited at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.   Photo by Flo Bruehl, July 19, 2008.

 

For more about prehistoric life go to our pages:

If you're looking for resources for geoprofessionals try our Resources Page.   Or if you're looking for books, computers, software and electronics try our Amazon Affiliate Store.   Much of the background information about prehistoric animals was obtained at the websites Enchanted Learning and Wikipedia.   Welcome to Dinosaur State Park is a website for Dinosaur State Park, Rocky Hill, Connecticut.
 

 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 

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