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Mass Extinction Causes and the impact on life:
This period essentially represents the time between the mass extinction of the dinosaurs that were so prevalent during the preceding Mesozoic Era and the onset of the most recent ice ages. The extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Mesozoic opened up many niches into which other types of organisms could radiate. In particular, mammals experienced a great radiation during the Tertiary Period, and because of this the Tertiary is often referred to as the ‘Age of Mammals’. However, one would be remiss to not also make mention of other types of organisms that experienced similar or even greater radiations during this period. For example, birds and
flowering plants both diversified to a great degree during the Tertiary, and insects continued to diversify, in many cases coevolving with plants.In all, life on Earth became much more similar to that of today during the Tertiary, particularly by the end of the period. Many major groups, such as the mammals, birds and flowering plants not only diversified during this period, but evolved into their contemporary orders, families and even genera. As we will also see, the earliest primates and human ancestors also appeared during the tertiary. Let’s set the stage for this amazing period of evolution first by discussing some of the important geologic features of the Tertiary.


Sources:
http://www.sci.uidaho.edu/bionet/biol116/O6/presentations/T8_tertiary_period_overview_slide_notes.pdf

http://www.enotes.com/tertiary-period-reference/tertiary-period