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The Tertiary in Oregon, US

Tertiary in Oregon map

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Tertiary Fossils
Fossil photos from Tertiary in Oregon

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Paleontology and geology

During the early Tertiary, Oregon was warm and humid. Fossil turret shells, fig shells, and cockles indicate that the marine waters off the coast were warm. Rainforests grew along the coast with wet forests extending farther inland. Hyaenadonts, early cats, and other predators fed on large hoofed mammals, such as brontotheres and amynodonts. By the middle Tertiary, conditions were cooler and drier. Clams, snails, and other marine organisms similar to modern species inhabited the waters off Oregon’s coast, and forests of oak and alder covered the landscape. Horses, camels, deer, bears, weasels, dogs, and cats, as well as larger mammals like the gomphotheres (early elephants), rhinoceroses and bear-dogs wandered the landscape. Tectonic activity during the Tertiary caused the uplift of the Coast Range and the Cascades in central Oregon.

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Organizations | Education and Exhibits


Parks (showing 1 of 1 listings)

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument: The official National Park Service site has information on when and how to get to the monument, what to see and do, camping and lodging, as well as maps and books for sale.

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Education and Exhibits

Virtual Exhibits (showing 1 of 1 listings)

Paleo Video: Kaitlin Maguire at the John Day Fossil Beds: Watch this video and join University of California Museum of Paleontology graduate student Kaitlin Maguire on a field trip to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument! After visiting the park in 2009, Kaitlin decided that it was the perfect place to do her dissertation research.

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