Monday, December 22, 2008

The Age of Mammals, 65 MYA - 200,000 BC

In the aftermath of the great comet, the small survived. Hot blooded creatures, the mammals dominated. As time went by, the evolved larger and larger. Some animals returned to the sea and evolved into giants. The whales and dolphins started out as amphibians.

Climate slowly grew cooler as the millions of years passed by. Part of this was caused by the drift of the continents.

Antarctica drifted south, all the way to the South Pole. Australia, having split from it during the Age of the Dinosaurs, drifted north. India had also split from Antarctica and moved north, colliding with Asia 55 - 45 MYA. Arabia collided with Asia, too, 35 MYA. All this activity affected Europe, too. It went from being groups of disparate islands to a continent. The collisions caused the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Carpathian Mountains. The North and South American continents closed enough that a land bridge connected them.

2.5 million years ago, the poles began to ice over. This marked the appearance of the first homos erectus – precursors of humans.

Above is a map of Earth 50 million years ago. Source: Wikipedia.

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