What are Some Cenozoic Animals?
Cenozoic animals are those which have existed in the past 65.5 million years, since the obliteration of the dinosaurs by a massive asteroid strike called the K-T extinction event. After the K-T extinction, the primary land animals remaining were small reptiles and rodent-like mammals. These rodent-like mammals quickly diversified and came to occupy all major niches, left empty by the departure of the dinosaurs. With a fast metabolism, close care for their young, and a relatively large brain, mammals were well-positioned to take control of terrestrial ecosystems and become the dominant Cenozoic animals. The only living Cenozoic animals immediately after the K-T extinction were small insectivores with excellent hearing and smell but mediocre vision. The earliest Cenozoic animals were adapted primarily to hunting in the night, when dinosaurs probably were less active due to their slower metabolisms. These insectivores differentiated into lagomorphs (rabbits, hares, and pikas), bats, early