Sykes et al. have demonstrated that the Caribbean plate has moved east-northeast about 1400 km since late Eocene time (38 Ma). This movement changes or affects the interpretation of many biogeographic problems of that region. For example, Woodring's 1965 “Middle Miocene Caribbean Province,” although slightly larger peripherally, includes the same area as the Caribbean plate; the migration route by which the North American terrestrial mammals reached the Panamanian area in the early Miocene may have been via the Nicaraguan Rise rather than through present-day Guatemala; Petuch's “relict Neogene gastropod fauna” from northern Colombia and Venezuela may have been carried along with the plate as it moved; the otherwise Pacific keyhole echinoid genus Mellitella's anomalous fossil occurrences in Venezuela and Colombia are explained by the plate movement.

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