Paleocene epoch

64.5 to 59 million years ago

64 MILLION YEARS AGO

A study of 500 metre-deep core samples from sediments along New Jersey's coastline by a team of scientists led by Professor Kenneth Miller suggest sea levels rose and fell frequently by tens of metres soon after the reign of the great dinosaurs had ended. Such fluctuations were only possible if the Earth was not free of ice at this time. So it seems something was making the planet very cold and very hot in a short period of time to ensure ice remained in the polar regions but could melt sufficiently in vast quantities to raise the sea level, but not enough time to see all the ice melt. Perhaps the combination of intense cold still persisting after the mini-Ice Age and the global warming conditions during the summer time allowed for this great variability in ocean levels. The team made this interesting discovery after studying the type of sediment, the fossils it contained, and changes in the amount of isotopes in different elements within different layers of the sediment core. (1)

59 MILLION YEARS AGO

The air is fairly clean of dust and soot from the last asteroid impact. World climate has stabilised and oceans levels have not fluctuated, making it easier for some animals to rely on food from the oceans.