Life in a glasshouse: The Pliocene deposits of Chinchilla


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Life in a glasshouse: The Pliocene deposits of Chinchilla 

Although the beginning of the Pliocene was warm and wet, these pleasant conditions didn’t last. In fact, in geological terms, they only persisted for a relatively short time after which the Australian continent once again began to experience largescale cooling and drying.

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The Pliocene – the geological period between 5.6 and 2.6 million years ago – was a time of great climatic and environmental upheaval. Following on from the generally cool and dry conditions that characterised the late Miocene, the beginning of the Pliocene was warm and wet and it was during this period that many of the marsupials that dominate modern Australian ecosystems, including quolls, dunnarts, bandicoots, wombats and long-faced kangaroos first appeared in the fossil record. Rodents, which today make up about 25% of modern Australian mammalian diversity, also arrived on the scene during this time, most likely as a result of accidental rafting from Southeast Asia.

AAOD Journal Issue 12 (2014) – pages 38 to 51 
By Dr Julien Louys and Joanne Wilkinson

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