Old Earth Ministries Online Earth History Curriculum

Presented by Old Earth Ministries (We Believe in an Old Earth...and God!)

This curriculum is presented free of charge for use by homeschooling families.

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Chapter 12 - The Paleogene Period

Lesson 57: Paleogene Overview


     The Paleogene (alternatively Palæogene, informally Lower Tertiary) is a geologic period and system that began 65.5 ± 0.3 and ended 23.03 ± 0.05 million years ago and comprises the first part of the Cenozoic era.  Lasting 42 million years, the Paleogene is most notable as being the time in which mammals evolved from relatively small, simple forms into a plethora of diverse animals in the wake of the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event that ended the preceding Cretaceous Period. Some of these mammals would evolve into large forms that would dominate the land, while others would become capable of living in marine, specialized terrestrial and even airborne environments. Birds also evolved considerably during this period, changing into roughly-modern forms. Most other branches of life on earth remained relatively unchanged in comparison to birds and mammals during this period. Some continental motion took place. Climates cooled somewhat over the duration of the Paleogene and inland seas retreated from North America early in the Period.  

Chapter 12 - The Paleogene Period


 Lesson 57 - Overview

 Lesson 58 - Paleocene Epoch

 Lesson 59 - Eocene Epoch

 Lesson 60 - Oligocene Epoch

 Lesson 61 - The Green River Formation 


Paleogene Fast Facts


Started:  65.5 Ma

Ended:  23.03 Ma

Duration:  42.47 Million Years

Preceded By: Cretaceous Period

Followed By: Neogene Period


Paleogeograpy in the middle of the Paleogene Period (Picture Source)

   This period consists of the Paleocene, Eocene, and Oligocene Epochs. The end of the Paleocene (55.5/54.8 Ma) was marked by one of the most significant periods of global change during the Cenozoic, a sudden global change, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, which upset oceanic and atmospheric circulation and led to the extinction of numerous deep-sea benthic foraminifera and on land, a major turnover in mammals. The Paleogene follows the Cretaceous Period and is followed by the Miocene Epoch of the Neogene Period. The terms 'Paleogene System' (formal) and 'lower Tertiary System' (informal) are applied to the rocks deposited during the 'Paleogene Period'. In early geology, the time period occupied by the Paleogene and Neogene periods was known as the Tertiery Period (65.5 Ma to 1.8 Ma).  You may still see the term Tertiery in some literature.

     Most of the information on the Paleogene period will be covered in the lessons on the individual epochs.

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Source:  Paleogene