Geologic Time Scale: Paleocene Epoch
(66 to 56 million years ago)
The Paleocene Epoch is the first epoch of the Paleogene Period and the modern Cenozic Era. The name is a combination of the Ancient Greek meaning “old” and the Eocene Epoch (which succeeds the Paleocene), translating to “the oldest part of the Eocene”. The word “Paleocene” was first used by French paleobotanist and gelogist Wilhelm Philipp Schimper in 1874 while describing deposits near Paris.
The warm, wet climate supported tropical and subtropical forests worldwide, mainly populated by conifers and broad-leafed trees. In the K-Pg extinction event (that killed all the non-avian dinosaurs), every land animal over 25 kilograms (55 pounds) was wiped out, leaving open several niches at the beginning of the epoch.