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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
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
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
Whale evolution (Eocene-Holocene)

Large, marine


Terrestrial ancestor

Earth History, Ch. 18

giant eocene shark
Giant Eocene shark

Modern shark jaws

Earth History, Ch. 18

paleogene life5
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
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
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
Eocene fossil bat

Earth History, Ch. 18

paleogene life10
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
Hyracotherium (“Eohippus”)earliest horse (odd-toed)


4 toes

3 toes

Earth History, Ch. 18

eocene elephants
Eocene elephants

Earth History, Ch. 18

diatryma stay away from this turkey
Diatryma(stay away from this turkey!)

8 ft

Earth History, Ch. 18

paleogene life15
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


18 ft at shoulder

Earth History, Ch. 18

horses mostly

absent in Old World

Earth History, Ch. 18