Cenozoic Era Facts

Cenozoic Era Facts
The Cenozoic Era is the last major division in time, beginning 65.5 million years ago and continuing until today. The three eras - the Paleozoic Era, the Mesozoic Era, and the Cenozoic Era - make up the Eras of the Phanerozoic. These three eras are broken into 12 periods. The Cenozoic Era is also referred to as the Age of Mammals as mammals began to rule the earth following the extinction of dinosaurs in the Mesozoic Era. The Cenozoic Era is divided into three periods, including the Paleogene, Neogene, and Quaternary periods. We are currently in the Quaternary Period.
Interesting Cenozoic Era Facts:
The beginning of the Cenozoic Era began when the Mesozoic Era ended and dinosaurs became extinct.
This first period is called the Paleogene Period and began 65.5 million years ago and ended 23.03 million years ago.
The second period of the Cenozoic Era was the Neogene Period which began 23.03 years ago and ended 2.6 million years ago.
The third period of the Cenozoic Era was the Quaternary Period which began 2.6 million years ago and continues today.
The Paleogene Period is divided into three epochs including the Paleocene, Eocene, and Oligodene epochs.
During the Paleocene epoch the world was recovering from the extinction event and mammals were fairly small. It is believed that they were all smaller than 10 kilograms.
During the Eocene epoch mammals were still small and included horses, early primates, and huge birds.
During the Oligodene epoch mammals began to evolve to include marsupials, dogs, and elephants. Plants were thriving and evolving and evergreen trees began to grow in this period as well.
The Neogene Period is the shortest period of the Cenozoic Era. It is divided into only two epochs - the Miocene and Pliocene epochs.
In the Miocene epoch grass spread across the globe and new species evolved. The apes in this epoch evolved into 30 new species. It is estimated that 95% of the seed plants evolved during this epoch.
In the Pliocene epoch climate changes led to the evolution of many of our modern plants and animal species. The continents and oceans took their current shape during this period.
The Quaternary Period is the last period of the Cenozoic Era and continues today. It is divided into two epochs - the Pleistocene epoch and the Holocene epoch.
In the Pleistocene epoch ice ages were frequent, and a major extinction event wiped out several species including Neanderthals. Homo sapiens evolved during this epoch.
In the Holocene epoch, which began 12,000 years ago, man evolved to what we are today. This epoch is also referred to as the 'Age of Man.'
Early mammals in the Cenozoic Era were quite large. Beavers were as long as 7 feet. Birds were as tall as 7 feet. Sloths grew to the size of our current elephants.
The first ancestor of modern humans was the Homo erectus, which existed about 1.6 million years ago. It was only about 4,000 years ago that humans learned to write and began building cities.
The extinction of many species that have occurred since the Industrial Revolution has been caused by humans, not nature or evolution.


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