Figure.18  Cenozoic time period.
Life and Times The sabre-toothed cat first appeared around 30Ma in the Cenozoic.

The Cenozoic is broken down into two periods: the Tertiary and the Quaternary. These periods are further broken down into six epochs (see table) that span from 65Ma to recent time. Therefore, if the sabre-tooth appeared around 30Ma it would have appeared in the mid to late Oligocene.

Climate in the Cenozoic is characterized by substantial fluctuations. In the paleocene there was a decrease to approximately 10ºC, and then in the Eocene, it climbed to tropical climates of 50ºC. The Oligocene continued this trend of cooling and warming into the Miocene. Cooling began in the Mid-Miocene, and the sea level began to rise, causing ice sheets to form in Antartica. Sea level then rose a second time in the Pliocene. Temperatures fluctuated, continuing to do so into the Pleistocene. Glaciation due to the build up of ice, began around 2.5Ma, continuing periodically, advancing and retreating many times. The last glaciation occurred approximately 10,000 years ago, relatively the same time that the sabre-tooth went extinct (Condie 1998).