Cenozoic Era

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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      Part of a series of articles titled Geologic Time—Major Divisions and NPS Fossils.

      Next: Mesozoic Era


      Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve, Badlands National Park, Bandelier National Monument, Big Bend National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capulin Volcano National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Channel Islands National Park, Chiricahua National Monument, City Of Rocks National Reserve, Colonial National Historical Park, Crater Lake National Park, Craters Of The Moon National Monument & Preserve, Death Valley National Park, Devils Postpile National Monument, Devils Tower National Monument, El Malpais National Monument, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Fossil Butte National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Grand Canyon National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Haleakalā National Park, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Katmai National Park & Preserve, Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, Mojave National Preserve, Mount Rainier National Park, Niobrara National Scenic River, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Pinnacles National Park, Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Scotts Bluff National Monument, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument, Valles Caldera National Preserve, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, Waco Mammoth National Monument, Yellowstone National Park more »

      Last updated: April 27, 2023