An early start for the Panama land bridge

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Science  10 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6231, pp. 186-187
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab0099

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The birth of the Panama land bridge, which connects the Americas, has been associated with one of the biggest biological exchanges in Earth history as numerous species migrated from one continent to the other (1). Nevertheless, the timing of formation of the land bridge is still much debated (2). On page 226 of this issue, Montes et al. (3) propose that the Central American Seaway, which separated South and North America, closed about 15 to 13 million years ago, more than 10 million years earlier than previously thought (4), with important implications for ocean circulation, climate, and biotic exchange.