The Great American Biotic (Faunal) Interchange

  • Thomas Defler
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 42)


This is the story of the revolutionary changes to South American mammals that occurred when it became possible for mammals from North America to pass to South America. This probably began as early as eight to ten million years ago when a proboscid, camelid, tayassuid, and tapirid and procyonid arrived in South America. Later at about three million years ago, the invasion became a flood when (apparently) the terrestrial connection between the two continents became complete. Of course some South American fauna went north, as well, including a primate, terrestrial sloths and the glyptodonts and marsupials, but all but the marsupials became extinct after modest success. Other southern elements persist yet in Central America, including primates and caviomorph rodents.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Defler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyNational University of Colombia, BogotaBogotaColombia

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