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Animals of the Cenozoic era

The Cenozoic era is the third stage of the constitution of Planet Earth as we know it today, which spans from the beginning of the Paleocene (approximately 66.5 million years ago) to the present. During that period, the Earth suffered a period of long-term cooling: this was due in large part to the fact that solar radiation was blocked.

Many geological events occur in this era, fundamental to the current structure of the Earth. India collided with Asia and Arabia did the same with Eurasia, leading to the closure of the Tethys Sea. On the other hand, there are many animals that were evolving with the running of the Cenozoic, developing until reaching the present in the condition that they are known.

Stages of the Cenozoic

Five are the stages of the Cenozoic period, and in each of them geological events occurred but also related to the formation of animal species:

  1. The Paleocene period is the one that has the definitive separation between Australia and Antarctica, and also that of the formation of the Norwegian Sea. Asia joins with North America, through the Bering Strait. In a period of abundant rain, some continental areas are flooded by the growth of the waters, as in the case of the Mediterranean Sea. The following animals developed at that time:
    • Marsupial mammals (small head, narrow snout and reduced cranial cavity)
    • Insectivores
    • Lemurs
    • Primates
    • Rodents
    • Creodonts
    • Primitive ungulate animals.
  1. The Eocene period included the breaking of the Laurasian supercontinent, where mountain systems of the Alps and the Himalayas continued to rise: this was due to a movement of plates in which continuous and abundant basalt eruptions from northeastern India also took place and Siberia. The climate remained practically unchanged with respect to the previous period. The following species developed there:
    • Horse
    • Camel
    • Rhino
    • Squirrels


    • Eagles
    • Pelicans
    • Quail
    • Vultures
  1. The Oligocene stage continues with the elevation of the mountain ranges, and the remains of the previous supercontinent of Gondwana collided with Eurasia to the north, producing the closure of the Tethys Sea and leaving the Mediterranean. The separation of Australia from Antarctica was very strong, and the Iberian and Cantabrian Mountains were built.
    • Disappearance of the archaic mammals of the early times of the Cenozoic.
    • Extinction of Creodonts.
    • The first true carnivores emerged.
    • The first anthropoid primate, which disappeared at the end of the era.
    • Rodents, herbivores of small size.
    • Elephants
    • Apes
    • Evolution of rhinos.
    • Evolution of horses.
  1. The Miocene period is the one that ended with the formation of the mountain ranges of the Alps and the Himalayas. The Strait of Gibraltar does not exist yet, and the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula sees the formation of high reliefs. The union of North America with South America begins, and the sedimentary erosion forms deposits and marine basins, later turned into oil reserves. The level of the Mediterranean Sea lowers, until almost becoming a great desert , what causes that the communication with the Atlantic Ocean is lost. The following species were developed in this subperiod.
    • Apes
    • Orangutans
    • Marsupials in Europe and North America
    • Cats
    • Megatherium, a placenta giant lazy bear.
    • Amphicyon, the well-known bear-dogs.
    • Hominids (Sahelanthropus, Ardipithecus, Proconsul africanus)
  1. The last sub-period of the Cenozoic is that of the Pliocene , where the continents and oceans began to shape their current form. The Panama Canal was produced, and the Alps continued to rise. The Gibraltar Strait opens up filling the pit that was formed by the collapse of the axis of the Atlas-Bética chain, and the Mediterranean Sea rose a few meters. The temperature dropped enough reaching the formation of forests of conifers and tundras. Some species were developed:
    • Mastodon, equivalent to the mammoth but with a large amount of teeth.
    • Elephants
    • Hippos
    • Lions
    • Armadillo
    • Lazy
    • Foxes
    • Cougars
    • Lynxes




Animals of the Paleozoic Era