Paleocene and the Cenozoic Era

Paleocene means: of, relating to, or designating the geological epoch at the start of the Tertiary Period, from approximately 65 million to 54 million years ago, when birds and early mammals first appeared. The Paleocene epoch was the first epoch of the Tertiary period in the Cenozoic era of geologic time and occurred between 60 to 66 million years ago. The Paleocene Epoch precedes the Eocene Epoch and follows the Cretaceous Period.

The Paleocene era saw the extinction of the dinosaurs and the development and proliferation of mammals. With the loss of dinosaurs from the world near the beginning of the Paleocene, there was an ecological vacancy that was rapidly filled by mammals. In just ten million years (the duration of the Paleocene) the earth was filled with small and medium-sized mammals... and the first large mammals were evolving and appearing on the face of the earth. Carnivourous mammals were abundant.

Paleocene mammals were mostly small herbivores similar to their Mesozoic ancestors. By the mid-Paleocene epoch, the ungulates, or hoofed mammals of mostly five-toed forms, became abundant. Prosimian primates (tree shrews and tarsiers) also increased in number.

The climate during the Paleocene was mild with little temperature fluctuation and the polar regions were free from ice and had extensive forests of pine. During the Paleocene epoch the land was covered by tropical, sub-tropical and deciduous forests. The temperature rose slowly throughout the Paleocene and flowering plants and insects abounded. Globally there was little or no frost during the Paleocene Epoch.

The Paleocene Epoch was a time of continental collisions leading to the formation of the Rocky Mountains and the Himalayas. During the Paleocene Epoch the sea-level fell across the globe and dry land was exposed in North America, Africa, and Australia.

The Paleocene, "early dawn of the recent", is a geologic epoch that lasted from 65.5 0.3 Ma to 55.8 0.2 Ma (million years ago). It is the first epoch of the Palaeogene Period in the modern Cenozoic era. As with most other older geologic periods, the strata that define the epoch's beginning and end are well identified, but the exact date of the end is uncertain. [More... about the Paleocene...]

The Paleocene epoch immediately followed the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous, known as the K-T boundary (Cretaceous - Tertiary), which marks the demise of the dinosaurs. The die-off of the dinosaurs left unfilled ecological niches worldwide, and the name "Paleocene" comes from Greek and refers to the "old(er) (paleo) new (ceno)" fauna that arose during the epoch, prior to the emergence of modern mammalian orders in the Eocene. [More... about the Paleocene...]

Mammals had first appeared in the Triassic, and developed alongside the dinosaurs, exploiting ecological niches untouched by the larger and more famous Mesozoic animals: in the insect-rich forest underbrush, and high up in the trees. These smaller mammals (as well as birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects) survived the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, which wiped out the dinosaurs, and mammals diversified and spread throughout the world. [More... about the Paleocene...]

paleocene forest
Paleocene image courtesy of M.Alan Kazlev

This is a site focussing on information about the Paleocene era, which occurred in the history of the earth 65 to 54.8 million years ago. I have put online an article from Wikipedia and other free and public domain Paleocene resources - enjoy!

If you have Paleocene images, or information that I haven't got listed please contact me, Paleocene, and I will endeavour to share the free information with everyone.

While early mammals were small nocturnal animals with herbivorous and insectivorous diets, the demise of the dinosaurs and the beginning of the Paleocene saw mammals growing bigger, more ferocious, and finally becoming the dominant predators and spreading throughout the world. Ten million years after the death of the dinosaurs, the world was filled with rodent-like mammals, medium sized mammals scavenging in forests, and large herbivorous and carnivorous mammals hunting other mammals, birds, and reptiles. [More... about the Paleocene...]

Paleocene alligator, Ceratosuchus burdoshi
Reconstruction of the Paleocene alligator, Ceratosuchus burdoshi. (C) Stanton F. Fink.