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The early Miocene Epoch (23.3-16.3 million years ago)
By the beginning of the Miocene, the great southern land of Gondwana had broken up. Australia had separated from Antarctica and South America and was slowly drifting northwards with the islands of New Guinea at its leading edge.
The Pleistocene Epoch (1.6 million-10,000 years ago)
The Pleistocene was the time of the giants, when megafauna roamed the landscape. Australia was close to its current position, but sea levels were much lower. Humans may have first arrived in Australia during this time.
The Holocene Epoch (10,000 years ago to the present)
During the past 10,000 years, Australia's global position and climate has changed little, but there have been enormous changes in its plants, animals and environments. Such changes have happened since the first people arrived in Australia, but the most rapid and dramatic changes have occurred dur
The Eocene Epoch (56-33.9 million years ago)
By the beginning of the Eocene, Gondwana had almost split apart, but Australia, Antarctica and South America remained joined. The Antarctic portion of Gondwana straddled the South Pole but because the global climate was warmer it was free of ice and snow.
The Mesozoic Era (252 - 66 million years ago)
The Mesozoic Era spanned 252 to 66 million years ago. Australia in the Mesozoic was nothing like it is today. It did not exist as a separate landmass, its position on the globe was much further south and the climate and plants were very different.
The Cretaceous Period (146-65 million years ago)
In the early Cretaceous, many of the southern continents were still joined together as part of the southern landmass called Gondwana. Northern continents formed the great landmass Laurasia. These two supercontinents shared many plants and animals dating from an earlier time when they were joined
The late Miocene Epoch (10.4-5 million years ago)
The late Miocene was a time of global drying and cooling. As ice rapidly accumulated at the poles, sea-levels fell, rainfall decreased and rainforests retreated. Many plant and animal groups died out and other forms, better adapted to a drying world, took their place.
The Pliocene Epoch (5-1.6 million years ago)
During the Pliocene, the world's continents were close to their present positions. There was an overall cooling of sea and land temperatures. Grasslands were spreading. Australia's plants and animals began to gain their distinctive modern appearance.
The Triassic Period (252 - 201 million years ago)
The Triassic was a time of recovery and diversification after the mass extinction at the end of the Permian.
Hominid and hominin – what’s the difference?
The terms ‘hominid’ and ‘hominin’ are frequently used in human evolution.