Battle for the Americas

December 21, 2013

Battle for the Americas: between N & S American #fauna coming together after the Isthmus of Panama was formed 3 Mya

Alfred Russel Wallace, the father of biogeography, recognized the faunal melting pot created when the tip of Central America collided with South America and forged the Isthmus of Panama, and in 1876 he postulated what is now called the Great American Biotic Interchange. The story has a dark ending: South American fauna compete poorly at home and away, and many species go extinct.

Interesting discussion of the Isthmus of Panama. The Isthmus was formed about three million years ago from volcanic action and divided the two oceans. It allowed two very different groups of fauna, that from North America and that from South America to come together. Most of the South American fauna expired as predicted by Wallace.

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