Dawn of the Recent Past
Standing here 34 million years ago you would probably recognize a number of plants and insects. But the year-round mild climate in the Rockies would be a surprise, as would the mammals of the time. The warm temperate forest was diverse, with several conifers and numerous broad-leaved plants. More than a thousand species of insects inhabited this ancient ecosystem. With global cooling at the end of the Eocene, this community changed drastically. Some organisms became extinct, others were able to adapt, and still others dispersed to warmer climates.
Plants and Animals of the Eocene World
Eocene literally means "dawn of the recent past." During this epoch (about 34-35 million years ago), mammals were emerging as the dominant land animals. In the Florissant valley, brontotheres (rhinoceros-like browsers) and Mesohippus (a three-toed browsing horse) were prominent.
Today tsetse flies live in Africa, but they probably plagued the mammals of the Florissant valley. Hollickwood, an extinct member of the beech family, was common in ancient Florissant. Scientists can reconstruct its appearance from fossils that show the attachment
1. Brontothere Family Brontotheriidae
2. Sucker Ammyzon commune
3. Brush-footed Butterfly Prodryas persephone
4. Mayfly Ephemera howarthi
5. Poplar Populus crassa
6. Crane Fly Tipula florissanti
7. Tsetse Fly Glossina oligoncenus
8. Mesohippus Mesohippus sp.
9. Elm family Cedrelospermum lineatum
10. Cuckoo Eocuculus cherpinae
11. Hollickwood Fagopsis longifolia
12. Hickory Carya libbeyi
13. Rose Rosa hillae
14. Longhorn Beetle Leptostylus sucdderi
15. Redwood Sequoia affinis
The high-elevation Guffey volcano probably dominated the region much as Pikes Peak does today. Mudflows from the volcano followed ancient stream drainages and eventually blanketed the Florissant valley.
Erected by National Park Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Animals • Environment • Paleontology • Science & Medicine.
Location. 38° 54.807′ N, 105° 17.183′
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Reading the Rings (here, next to this marker); Florissant Valley Today (here, next to this marker); Delicate Impressions (a few steps from this marker); Is the Trio in Trouble? (a few steps from this marker); Layers of Time (a few steps from this marker); Just One Piece at a Time (a few steps from this marker); Ancient Clones (a few steps from this marker); Ancient Forest Diversity (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Florissant.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. (Submitted on October 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Eocene. (Submitted on October 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Eocene Florissant. (Submitted on October 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 45 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.