Cenozoic Era Creatures

Evolution Unit Study

Lesson 8: Cenozoic Era Creatures

The first mammals evolved during the Mesozic Era, but after the mass extinction event which wiped out the dinosaurs, those mammals began to develop individual features. Horses, elephant, and hundreds of other mammals developed unique characteristics which enabled them to thrive. As the mammals continued to evolve, so did the reptiles and fish. Unique creatures such as turtles, lizards, and crocodiles became abundant. Grasslands spread across the land and with them mammals such as cattle and deer became equipped to survive in their new environment.


During the Cenozoic Era lesson, the kids learned to use the photo copier in order to create images for the timeline. This time they learned to use the internet and printer to accomplish the same thing.

First they searched the internet for images of creatures they wanted to place onto the timeline. Then they copied the images and pasted them into the program Inkscape. Inkscape is a graphic editing program which can be downloaded for free from the internet. In Inkscape, they resized their photos to fit onto one sheet of paper and then printed them out.

Although they didn't do much graphic editing within Inkscape, this simple exercise gave them exposure to the program and they learned how to find relevant graphics on the internet.

Cenozoic Era Videos

The Cenozoic Era also gave rise to human evolution which will be the subject of the next lesson. The last great ice age when the wooly mammoths and saber toothed cats ran wild was part of the Cenozoic Era as well as modern humans living today.

The following list of videos provide a good overview of how creatures evolved during the Cenozoic Era.

And the Mammals Laid Eggs
For much of history the continent of Australia was separated from the rest of the Earth's land mass. Therefore, the creatures which evolved in Australia are the most unique on the planet. Poison, pouches and combinations of features found now where else (platypus)....This video describes several Australian animals and their history of evolution.

The Evolution of Humans 
Each creature alive today has unique features which has enabled it to survive. Hammerhead sharks have heads unlike other animals. This video explores how the shape of various creatures has given them an advantage which has ensured their survival.

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