Various mammal species that existed during the Paleocene and Eocene epochs

Palaeocene epoch

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.

Began: Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction
65 million years ago

Ended: 54.8 million years ago

Causes of extinctions

During this period the following extinction level events are thought to have occurred.

Flood basalt eruptions Flood basalt eruptions
Flood basalt eruptions are a type of large-scale volcanic activity, both in terms of extent and duration, that can occur on land or on the ocean floor. A flood basalt may continue to erupt for tens of thousands - possibly millions - of years and the lava can cover hundreds of thousands of kilometres.

Types of fossils formed in this period

Trace fossils Trace fossils
It's not only the actual bodily remains of dead animals and plants that can become fossils. Things created or left behind by animals can also fossilise, such as their footprints, burrows and dung.

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