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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Eocene \E"o*cene\, a. [Gr. 'hw`s daybreak, dawn + ? new, recent.] (Geol.) Pertaining to the first in time of the three subdivisions into which the Tertiary formation is divided by geologists, and alluding to the approximation in its life to that of the present era; as, Eocene deposits. -- n. The Eocene formation.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

in reference to the second epoch of the Tertiary Period, 1831, from eo- "earliest" + Latinized form of Greek kainos "new" (see recent). Coined in English (along with Miocene and Pliocene) by the Rev. William Whewell (1794-1866), English polymath, and meant as "the dawn of the recent." As a noun from 1851.


The Eocene (; symbol E ) Epoch, lasting from , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the Eocene is marked by a brief period in which the concentration of the carbon isotope C in the atmosphere was exceptionally low in comparison with the more common isotope C. The end is set at a major extinction event called the Grande Coupure (the "Great Break" in continuity) or the Eocene–Oligocene extinction event, which may be related to the impact of one or more large bolides in Siberia and in what is now Chesapeake Bay. As with other geologic periods, the strata that define the start and end of the epoch are well identified, though their exact dates are slightly uncertain.

The name Eocene comes from the Greek (eos, dawn) and (kainos, new) and refers to the "dawn" of modern ('new') fauna that appeared during the epoch.

Usage examples of "eocene".

The Cretaceous beds have not yet been separated from the overlying Eocene, and the identification of the system rests on the discovery of a single Cenomanian ammonite.

The Eocene period dates back about 38-55 million years from the present.

This formation is Early Eocene, making the flints about 50-55 million years old.

Regan McKinney would love, something about the PalEocene Eocene Thermal Maximum.

Red Dog, and writing a book about anything concerned with PalEocene Eocene Thermal situations was over-the-edge academic.

Yet if we compare the older Reptiles and Batrachians, the older Fish, the older Cephalopods, and the eocene Mammals, with the more recent members of the same classes, we must admit that there is some truth in the remark.

The creodont belonged in the Eocene epoch, because the creodont was fitted for life in the Eocene epoch.

Varieties of creatures with vast striking beaks resembling the diatrymas of Earth's Eocene roamed it, and there were some introduced Earth birds, too: The "banana belt" of the northern coastal regions had a climate not unlike the south of New Zealand and there were a few ranches for reconstituted and slightly modified moas, strongly fenced in and over to protect them from the savage and powerful locals.

By fifty-five million years ago, in the Eocene Period, there was a great proliferation of primates, both arboreal and ground-dwelling, and the evolution of a line of descent that eventually led to Man.