Earth Collections : Oligocene database

The Oligocene Epoch extended from 33.9 - 23.0 million years ago.

Oligocene fossils are quite thinly represented in the Museum's collections. This is due to a combination of factors - the Oligocene was a time of cooling climates and falling sea levels which reduced deposition and shelf habitats, and thus overall biomass and biodiversity - hence fewer fossils.

The Oligocene is also poorly represented in the UK, and recent changes to our understanding of the age of UK rocks has seen many deposits formerly thought to be Oligocene, reclassified as Eocene. Consequently, the collections reflect this, comprising around 800 items.

The Oligocene collections are dominated by invertebrates, including molluscs and corals, but mammals are better-represented than before, including more diverse larger taxa than previous epochs

Important collections include the Cuvier/Buckland collection of Early Oligocene mammals from the classic Montmartre localities in France, and the Daubeny collection of fish from Aix-en-Provence, also France. Most of the collections date from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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