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Tertiary structures

Tertiary
 

Tertiary structures (Tertiaere gebilde) – equivalent to the modern Palaeocene to Pliocene epochs.

This period saw the extinction of non-avian saurians as the climate cooled, and the development of mammal and bird life. 

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Opossum skeleton
  Fossils of mammal skeletons 

Top: Didelphis (Opossum)

Bottom: Muscardinus avellenarius (dormouse)

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Mastodon
  American Mastodon skeleton and tooth

An extinct species related to elephants and mammoths, first described by Georges Cuvier in 1817.

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Dinotherium    

Skull of a Dinotherium giganteum

Illustration of a specimen found at Eppelsheim, 1836. In his reconstruction of the physiology of the Dinotherium, William Buckland suggested that it had a proboscis similar to that of the modern tapir. Modern reconstructions suggest that the proboscis more closely resembles the trunk of an elephant.

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Palaeotherium
  Skeleton of a Palaeotherium

An extinct mammal, described by Georges Cuvier in 1804 as being similar to a modern tapir. However recent studies suggest that the creature did not have a proboscis and instead is more closely related to the horse. 

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Agassiz fish 2
  Fossil fish and shark's tooth

Specimens of the fossil fish Lates gracilis Agassiz and Aspius Brongniarti Agassiz, and a shark's tooth, all from Louis Agassiz's 'Recherches sur les Poissons Fossiles’ (1833-1844).

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Pliocene shells
  Pliocene shells

Typical shells from the Pliocene epoch, taken from Charles Lyell’s ‘Principles of Geology’ (1830-1833).

Lyell based his divisions of the Tertiary period (Eocene, Miocene and Pliocene) on the abundance  of fossil molluscs found in various strata.
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Miocene shells   Miocene shells

Shells characteristic of the Miocene epoch , taken from Charles Lyell’s ‘Principles of Geology’ (1830-1833).

Lyell based his divisions of the Tertiary period (Eocene, Miocene and Pliocene) on the abundance  of fossil molluscs found in various strata.

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Eocene shells   Eocene shells

Microscopic shells from order of Cephalapoda, Paris Basin, taken from Charles Lyell’s ‘Principles of Geology’ (1830-1833).

Lyell based his divisions of the Tertiary period (Eocene, Miocene and Pliocene) on the abundance  of fossil molluscs found in various strata.

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