The paleogene world
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Notes for Chapter 18 part 1 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Paleogene World. Holocene. Two-fold subdivision of Cenozoic: Paleogene , Neogene Previously , Cenozoic was divided into Tertiary (Paleocene-Pliocene) and Quaternary (Pleistocene-Holocene). Pleistocene. Neogene. Pliocene. Miocene. 24. Cenozoic. Oligocene. Paleogene. Eocene.

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The paleogene world l.jpg
The Paleogene World


  • Two-fold subdivision of Cenozoic: Paleogene, Neogene

  • Previously, Cenozoic was divided into Tertiary (Paleocene-Pliocene) and Quaternary (Pleistocene-Holocene)












Earth History, Ch. 18

Paleogene life l.jpg
Paleogene life

  • In marine realm, most groups that survived end-Cretaceous mass extinction recovered and diversified during Paleogene

    • Planktonic forams, calcareous nannos, mollusks, arthropods

  • Demise of giant marine reptiles opened the door to whales (Eocene) and giant sharks!

Earth History, Ch. 18

Whale evolution eocene holocene l.jpg
Whale evolution (Eocene-Holocene)

Large, marine


Terrestrial ancestor

Earth History, Ch. 18

Giant eocene shark l.jpg
Giant Eocene shark

Modern shark jaws

Earth History, Ch. 18

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Paleogene life

  • Other interesting newcomers to marine or marginal marine habitats:

    • Penguins (Eocene)

    • Pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, walruses)

      • Thought to have evolved from terrestrial ancestors in Paleogene time, but oldest fossils are Neogene

Earth History, Ch. 18

Paleogene life6 l.jpg
Paleogene life

  • On land…………..

    • Diversification and “modernization” of angiosperms

    • By early Oligocene time, half of all angiosperm genera were ones that still exist today

  • Origin of grasses

    • Earliest forms were sedge-like (discontinuous growth)

    • Late Oligocene-Neogene forms capable of continuous growth (able to withstand grazing pressure)

Earth History, Ch. 18

Paleogene life7 l.jpg
Paleogene life

  • Explosive adaptive radiation of mammals!

    • By Eocene time, most modern orders of mammals had appeared, including primates, carnivores and horses

Cantius, climbing around in

our family tree!

Earth History, Ch. 18

Eocene fossil bat l.jpg
Eocene fossil bat

Earth History, Ch. 18

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Paleogene life

  • Other Eocene oddities…………..

    • Differentiation of ungulates (hoofed herbivores)

      • Even-toed (cattle, sheep, antelope, bison, pigs, camels, etc.)

      • Odd-toed (horses, tapirs, rhinos)

    • Appearance of elephants

    • Appearance of Diatryma (giant, flightless birds)

Earth History, Ch. 18

Hyracotherium eohippus earliest horse odd toed l.jpg
Hyracotherium (“Eohippus”)earliest horse (odd-toed)


4 toes

3 toes

Earth History, Ch. 18

Diacodexis early even toed ungulate l.jpg
Diacodexis(early even-toed ungulate)

Earth History, Ch. 18

Eocene elephants l.jpg
Eocene elephants

Earth History, Ch. 18

Diatryma stay away from this turkey l.jpg
Diatryma(stay away from this turkey!)

8 ft

Earth History, Ch. 18

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Paleogene life

  • Many groups of mammals became extinct during Eocene time

  • Oligocene was noteworthy for:

    • Paraceratherium, largest land mammal ever (member of rhino family)

    • Origin of true monkeys

    • “Extinction” of horses throughout Eurasia

    • Expansion of big cats

Earth History, Ch. 18

Paraceratherium l.jpg

18 ft at shoulder

Earth History, Ch. 18

Aegyptopithecus oligocene monkey l.jpg
Aegyptopithecus(Oligocene monkey)

Earth History, Ch. 18

Slide19 l.jpg

horses mostly

absent in Old World

Earth History, Ch. 18

Dinictis oligocene saber tooth cat l.jpg
Dinictis(Oligocene saber-tooth cat)

Earth History, Ch. 18