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Eocene Epoch – Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land

This video from the Museum’s Florida Fossils exhibit describes the Eocene Epoch, 55 million to 34 million years ago. During this period, lush tropical forests blanketed much of the world’s landmasses and oceans were generally warmer than today. Florida was underwater with a rich mosaic of shallow and deeper water habitats on a submerged limestone platform.

The coastlines of southeastern North America were patrolled by large predators, including sharks, crocodilians and primitive toothed whales called archaeocetes, while four-legged, primitive sea cows waded and swam in the shallows. Tropical ocean currents bathed the carbonate banks marine habitats. The Tethys Sea provided an east-west throughway for dispersal of sea creatures and plants from far and wide.