second period in the Cenozoic era

The Neogene is the second geological period of the Cainozoic. It began 23 million years ago, and ended about 2.6 million years ago. Before the Neogene was the Palaeogene. The Neogene and the preceding Palaeogene were originally together considered one period, the Tertiary.

The Neogene has two stages: Miocene, and Pliocene. It is followed by the Quaternary. Some geologists think that the Neogene cannot be clearly distinguished from the modern geological period, the Quaternary.[1]

The global climate became seasonal and continued an overall drying and cooling trend which began at the start of the Paleogene. The ice caps on both poles began to grow and thicken. By the end of the period the first glaciation of the current Ice Age began.[2]

Marine and continental flora and fauna have a modern appearance. Mammals and birds adapted to various habitats. The first humans (belonging to the species Homo habilis) appeared in Africa near the end of the period.[3]


  1. Tucker M.E. 2001. Sedimentary petrology : an introduction to the origin of sedimentary rocks. 3rd ed, Osney Nead, Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science. ISBN 978-0-632-05735-1
  2. Benn, Douglas I. (2010). Glaciers & glaciation (2nd ed.). London: Hodder Education. pp. 15–21. ISBN 9780340905791.
  3. Lourens L; Hilgen F; Shackleton N.J; Laskar J. & Wilson D. 2004. “The Neogene Period”. In: Gradstein F; Ogg J; Smith A.G. (eds) Geologic Time Scale. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.