Impact of Continental Drift on Evolution

907 WordsMay 24, 20104 Pages
Continental drift has helped create the diversity we see present in modern day plants and animals. Through a process of speciation, the movement of the continents has had a generous role throughout evolution, effecting and distributing flora and fauna. The Earth’s continents were once one, a large supercontinent called Pangea that later separated into two smaller ones known as Gondwana and Laurasia. The separation and collision of continents has not only created some of the valleys and mountain ranges which are significant landmarks on the Earth’s surface, but it has also brought species together and apart again, consequently letting natural selection take over and lead to the animals we see today. “The timescale on which continents…show more content…
Being better adapted in general, they out competed nearly all the marsupials in that area and the marsupials in turn died out. The bridge from the South America / Africa area to the Australia / Antarctica area closed out, so placental animals could not completely dominate there. Weather it be though speciation or survival of the fittest, every aspect of animal life as we know it has been affected by continental drift one way or another. Geologists and Biologists alike could trace the shifting of the tectonic plates and note the effects it has on both the Earth’s surface and the Earth’s biodiversity. Continental drift is responsible for the diversity we see in animals today, and in the far future it will likely be still responsible for it. Appendix FIGURE A Alfred Wegner was the first person to make the suggestion that all the continents were once one. Because he had no proof, he was disregarded. We now know today that the tectonic plates are in fact moving, and bringing the continents with them and that Pangea did in face exist. One of Wegner’s proofs of Pangea was the jigsaw fit between South America and Africa. Image is courtesy of http://www.canadiangeographic.ca FIGURE B After Pangea and before the continents drifted to the way they are today; there were only two major continents: Laurasia and Gondwana, as you see in the figure on the left. Image is

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