Cenozoic Era

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yellow background with test cenozoic era 66 MILLION TO 11,700 YEARS AGO


The Cenozoic Era is the "Age of Mammals." North America’s characteristic landscapes began to develop during the Cenozoic. Birds and mammals rose in prominence after the extinction of giant reptiles. Common Cenozoic fossils include cat-like carnivores and early horses, as well as ice age woolly mammoths.

The Pleistocene Ice Ages began about 2.6 MYA. Some caves preserve the remains of ice age animals that died in them or were transported there after death. The "Age of Mammals" also includes humans—the earliest known evidence of Homo sapiens in the fossil record is from 300,000 years ago.

Cenozoic Resources

The Cenozoic Era is further divided into three Periods: the Paleogene, the Neogene, and the Quaternary. A few examples of NPS resources in each time Period are highlighted below.

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    Cenozoic “Age of Mammals” Coloring Pages

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    Visit—Cenozoic Parks

    Every park contains some slice of geologic time. Here we highlight a few parks associated with Cenozoic Era. This is not to say that a particular park has only rocks from the specified period. Rather, rocks in selected parks exemplify a certain event or preserve fossils or rocks from a certain geologic age.

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      Last updated: January 4, 2021