for the first time in the Urumaco sequence and Venezuela, respectively. Our findings include the first fossil record of the freshwater fishes Megaleporinus, Schizodon, Amblydoras, Scorpiodoras, and the pipesnake Anilius scytale, all from Pliocene strata. The late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene ages proposed here for the Vergel and Cocuiza members, respectively, are supported by their stratigraphic position, palynology, nannoplankton, and 86Sr/88Sr dating. Mammals from the Vergel Member are associated with the first major pulse of the Great American Biotic Interchange. In contrast to the dry conditions prevailing today, the San Gregorio Formation documents mixed open grassland/forest areas sur‐ rounding permanent freshwater systems, following the isolation of the northern South American basin from western Amazonia. These findings support the hypothesis that range contraction of many taxa to their current distribution in northern South America occurred rapidly during at least the last 1.5 million years.