Emergent Eocene Epoch: 56 - 34 mya
Features of the Eocene epoch - 56 - 34 mya:
Eocene is Greek for "dawn" and "new":
Eosimias, the "Dawn Monkey", known by its fossil jaw and skull fragments, is considered an example of the earliest anthropoid (45 mya).
1) The global climate continues to warm as the Paleocene recedes, with jungles and tropical rain forests at the poles.
2) True primates (euprimates) emerge, characterized by
a) smaller infraorbital foramen;
c) grasping hands;
d) increased reliance on vision over olfaction, reflected in cranial changes;
e) presence of postorbital bar;
f) leaping abilities: resembling living prosimians, as modern mammals replace archaic forms, i.e. plesiadapiforms of the Paleocene disappear.
4) Ungulates (even and odd-hoofed animals) evolve, including horses, zebras, rhinos, and tapirs
5) Towards the late Eocene, an ice-age begins in Antarctica; the present Earth continues in an ice age, with glacial (waxing) and inter-glacial (waning) periods
6) INDIA MEETS ASIA, which leads to the formation of the Himalayan mountains.
7) N. America is barely connected to Asia, and separates further from Europe.
3) Fossils of euprimates labeled strepsirrhines, are identified, resembling lemurs and lorises, but not tarsiers.