Miocene Epoch, a geologic epoch that began about 23,000,000 years ago and lasted 17,000,000 years. It is the fourth epoch of the Cenozoic Era. In North America the Miocene was marked by widespread erosion. Sedimentary rocks of Miocene age are exposed along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, on the upper western Great Plains, and in the Great Basin and California. Plants and animals of Miocene time were much like those of the present but were distributed differently. Camels, for example, were common in North America.Deinotherium was a Miocene Epoch relative of the modern elephant.
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Fossils tell a story, much like the clues at the scene of a crime. Researchers look for evidence and paleontologists study that evidence to answer questions about the past.