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In astronomy, geology, and paleontology, mya or "m.y.a." is an acronym for million years ago. This abbreviation is commonly used as a unit of time to denote length of time before the present or "B.P." (before AD 1950). Specifically, one mya is equal to 106 years ago. The popular term 'mya' is replaced in scientific literature with Ma (megaannum).

Like the related unit bya or "b.y.a.," ("billion years ago"), mya is traditionally written in lowercase. The common term bya is replaced in scientific literature with Ga (gigaannum).

Events around 1 mya:

Astronomical deep time:

  • The light we see now from the Andromeda Galaxy started 2.5 mya
  • The light we (do not) see now from the centre of the Milky Way started 0.026 mya

Geologic periods (Neogene):

  • Pliocene 5.3 to 1.8 mya
    • The last geomagnetic reversal was 0.78 mya
    • The (Eemian interglacial) Ice Age started 0.13 mya
  • Holocene started 0.01 mya

Prehistoric Paleontology:

  • Homo erectus existed from 1.8 to 0.07 mya
    • and learned to control fire from 1.5 to 0.5 mya
    • and colonized Asia from 0.5 to 0.3 mya
  • Homo sapiens separated from Neanderthal lineage 0.6 mya
    • and emerged out of Africa from 0.076 mya
    • and entered Australasia from 0.07 mya
    • and colonized all of Eurasia 0.04 mya
    • and formed cultures since the Upper Paleolithic Revolution 0.04 mya
    • and colonized all of America 0.015 mya

See also

  • annum
  • Before Present
  • bya
  • tya