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The term Plio-Pleistocene refers to the geological period more recent than circa 5 million years (Ma) ago, incorporating both the formally defined epochs of the Pliocene and the Pleistocene. Strictly, this would exclude the Holocene - the last 12 thousand years - but informally most Earth Scientists would probably consider the term to incorporate this period.

The term is particularly useful since the Plio-Pleistocene covers a period of gradual but prolonged long term atmospheric cooling from generally warmer temperatures in the earlier Neogene towards Late Pleistocene (or indeed modern, if the present Holocene interglacial is considered as superimposed on the longer trend) conditions. and many authors may informally use "Plio-Pleistocene" as a synonym for the period in which the Northern Hemisphere has been glaciated.

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