NEOGENE BIOME RECONSTRUCTION FROM NORTHERN VENEZUELA
The climatic history of the region, including the timing of the onset of these arid conditions and the evolution and establishment of this local xeric biome are still largely unknown. These arid climatic conditions were likely influenced by changes in ocean circulation initiated by the formation of the Panamanian Isthmus. Current regional climatic conditions are strongly governed by the annual migration of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), by westerly wind patterns, and by El Nino and Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Regionally, there is extensive aridity that extends from the Guajira peninsula and all the way west to the Falcon state, including the Paraguana Peninsula. The xeric environment that dominates the area supports vegetation that exclusively thrives under stressful climatic regimes.
Our initial paleovegetation and paleoenvironmental reconstructions support the hypothesis of a change in the vegetation towards a xeric dominating type as a response to a striking climatic shift that induced a arid conditions in the area by the late Miocene.