The Paleocene epoch was a time of dense forests and evolutionary experiments. The extinction of the dinosaurs and other giant reptiles at the end of the Cretaceous paved the way for mammals and birds to evolve to fill those empty niches, so many new creatures appeared. During the Paleocene the island continent of India moved north and collided with Asia. At the end of the epoch, an abrupt rise in temperature across the planet made the climate much wetter and caused a sea level rise.
Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction
65 million years ago
Ended: 54.8 million years ago
During this period the following extinction level events are thought to have occurred.
The Paleocene (symbol Pε ) or Palaeocene, the "early recent", is a geologic epoch that lasted from about 66 to 56 million years ago. It is the first epoch of the Palaeogene Period in the modern Cenozoic Era. As with many geologic periods, the strata that define the epoch's beginning and end are well identified, but the exact ages remain uncertain.
The Paleocene Epoch brackets two major events in Earth's history. It started with the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous, known as the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. This was a time marked by the demise of non-avian dinosaurs, giant marine reptiles and much other fauna and flora. The die-off of the dinosaurs left unfilled ecological niches worldwide. It ended with the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. This was a geologically brief (~0.2 million year) interval characterized by extreme changes in climate and carbon cycling.
The name "Paleocene" comes from Greek and refers to the "old(er)" (παλαιός, palaios) "new" (καινός, kainos) fauna that arose during the epoch.
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