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The Miocene Epoch was the first time period of the Neogene. It began 25 +/- 2 MYA, ended 9 +/- 3 MYA, lasting for about 15 million years.
The middle of Miocene was marked by the appearance of Antarctic ice sheet and other geological changes, such as the formation of Alps in Europe, Himalayas in Asia and Andes in South America, changing Earth's climate further.
As a result, several more ancient animal lineages, especially those tied to rainforest and swamp habitats, died out, as the planet's climate became drier, forming steppes and savannas.
The mammals of Miocene include first artiodactyls; the evolution of horses and proboscideans was under way as well. Bears, hyenas, anteaters, giant ground sloths appeared - the so-called hipparion fauna. Pinnipeds and new families of cetaceans had evolved. Finally, the ape reached its pinnacle during the Miocene, including the ancestors of Australopithecus, who eventually became the ancestors of humans.