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The Quaternary in Florida, US

Quaternary in Florida map

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Quaternary Fossils
Fossil photos from Quaternary in Florida

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Paleontology and geology

During the Quaternary, sea level fluctuated widely as glaciers grew and melted in the northern part of North America. Thick, alternating layers of marine shells and freshwater marls now exposed along the Florida peninsula provide evidence of the rise and fall of sea level over the state at this time. These fluctuations, coupled with Florida’s low topography, caused major changes in the amount of exposed land area. As glaciers to the north grew larger, sea level dropped up to 125 meters below present level, and Florida’s shoreline expanded nearly 150 kilometers to the west. Vast savannas formed and were populated by large animals, such as mammoths, mastodons, horses, and bison. Today, fossils of some of these mammals are found in sediments on the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico. During warmer interglacial times, sea level rose up to 45 meters above present sea level. Most of the state’s modern topography (e.g. rivers, lakes, barrier islands) formed during this time.

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Education and Exhibits | Research and Collections | Resources

Education and Exhibits

Virtual Exhibits (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Fossil Horses in Cyberspace: Take a tour of the Fossil Horse Cybermuseum to learn about palentology and evolution by exploring the rich fossil record of horses. Created by the Florida Museum of Natural History.

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Physical Exhibits (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Hall of Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land: Drawing upon the museum's internationally acclaimed fossil collections, this exhibit encapsulates the last 65 million years of Earth's history.

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Research and Collections

Researchers (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Paleobotany and Palynology at the Florida Museum of Natural History: The Paleobotany and Palynology Collection at the Florida Museum of Natural History is international in scope, including collections from 47 countries. Systematically the greatest strength of the collection is in Cretaceous-Tertiary angiosperms.

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Databases (showing 2 of 2 listings)

UF Vertebrate Paleontology Databases: On-line, searchable databases of over 200,000 specimens in the collection of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.

Neogene Marine Biota of Tropical America: NMITA is an online biotic database containing images and data for taxa used in analyses of Tropical American Biodiversity over the past 25 million years. NMITA is designed for use in research and education in systematics and evolutionary paleontology. Major fossil groups included are bryozoans, corals, molluscs, ostracodes, and fish. Users may browse or search images and information about taxa or click on maps and stratigraphic columns for faunal lists for specific horizons. NMITA also provides several educational activities.  

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