Browsing the "Paleogene" Category

The Paleogene period is a division of earth’s history spanning from around 66 to 23 million years ago, and during which life recovered following the end Cretaceous mass extinction. The Paleogene was a warm stable period with temperatures on average 4°C above present. However, around 55 million years ago, the planet experienced a short but severe warming phase. During the Paleogene, the continents continued to disperse. The Indian and Atlantic oceans widened while the Tethys Ocean gradually closed as Africa collided with Europe and India collided with Asia leading to Alpine and Himalayan mountain building. Drake’s passage opened between South America and Antarctica leading to cooling of the southern continent. On land and in the oceans, mammals became increasingly diverse and abundant. Most of the major mammal groups, from primates to whales, first appeared within the Paleogene. Birds also continued to diversify. One of the most successful plant groups; the grasses, also evolved during this time. By the end of the period, the Antarctic ice sheet had begun to form accompanied by global cooling and sea level fall.


Episode 25: Marsupials of Riversleigh

Published on January 16th, 2014 | by Laura Soul

Continuing our look at Australia’s marsupials, we speak to Dr. Karen Black, also of the University of New South Wales. We discuss the Riversleigh fossil site, which fossils it contains, how they are preserved and what [&hellip... Read More


Episode 24: Marsupial evolution

Published on January 1st, 2014 | by Laura Soul

Marsupials are a group of mammals best known from Australia, but are also present in South America and up to the southern and eastern parts of the USA. Despite their current geographical distribution, metatherians (the group [&hellip... Read More


Episode 23: Mass extinctions

Published on December 1st, 2013 | by David Marshall

What are Mass extinctions, how are they quantified, what are the driving forces behind them, how bad were the ones in the past and will we have more in the future? To answer these questions we [&hellip... Read More


Episode 7: Colouration in fossils

Published on November 15th, 2012 | by David Marshall

Animals and plants use colour for a variety of reasons including absorbing solar radiation, camouflage and communication including sexual display. In living organisms, colour can be produced by many different methods. What is true of colouration [&hellip... Read More


Episode 3: Amber and parasitism

Published on September 15th, 2012 | by David Marshall

In our first episode on the early origins of life, we discussed how without symbiosis or mutualism (the co-operation of organisms) life as we know it would not have evolved past its most basic levels. Within [&hellip... Read More

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