The world used to be a lot more connected, geologically speaking, than it is now, thanks to rising ocean waters, melting ice caps, and dramatic tectonic shifts. One of the geographical features that helped to connect and diversify the flora and fauna on this planet is the land bridge.The most historically important land bridges linked continents and brought new life and culture to parts of the planet that were previously inaccessible. Some were Atlantis-like sunken nations like Doggerland (now deep below the North Sea) and some emerged out of the ocean with the help of volcanoes. Many land bridges offered the possibility of a new life at a time when long-distance ocean travel was a deadly proposition. Here's a look at the land bridges that helped shape history and the planet's landscape.
It's hard to imagine, but North and South America used to be two separate continents with a body of water scientists call the Central American Seaway between them. But then nature found a way to make a love connection: around 4.5 million years ago, a land bridge now known as the Isthmus of Panama emerged after underwater volcanoes formed islands that were slowly linked via massive sediment deposits. A land bridge was born!Biodiversity on the planet was changed forever: species such as cats, dogs, armadillos, and porcupines crossed the bridge to broaden their territory. In 1914, the U.S. finished the Panama Canal on the isthmus, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and forever changing maritime trade.