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Lay of the Land (CEC)

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Nature shaped the land in this part of Texas in a number of interesting ways. Millions of years ago, this land lay at the bottom of the sea, studded by carol reefs and rocky atolls. Geological forces and dramatic shifts in the earth’s surface caused the water’s edge to recede to the south and east. What were once continental shelves and underwater landforms eroded into mesas like those south of Big Spring, lines of hills like the Callahan Divide south of Abilene, and rocky escarpments like the Cap Rock near Lubbock.

Animals have always been part of this land. From early sea life found in ancient seas 1.3 billion years ago, to large land animals (mega fauna) such as giant bison, cave bears, primitive horses, and woolly mammoths that occupied the grassy savanna, creatures inhabited the region in a much cooler climate dominated by advancing and receding glaciers. The climate began to warm about 20,000 BC and resembled a climate slightly milder than that of today. Species came and went due to natural processes. Human beings identified as the Clovis Culture arrived in the area around 11,500 BC. These early inhabitants are referred to as Paleo-Indians, and they hunted large animals with thrusting spears.