Between c. 23 and 8 Ma, western Amazonia was occupied by the vast Pebas long-lived lake/wetland system. The Pebas system had a variety of influences over the evolution of Miocene and modern Amazonian biota; it formed a barrier for the exchange of terrestrial biota, a pathway for the transition of marine biota into freshwater Amazonian environments, and formed the stage of remarkable radiations of endemic molluscs and ostracods. The lithological variation of the Pebas Formation has furthermore enhanced edaphic heterogeneity in western Amazonia, sustaining present-day high terrestrial diversity in the region.