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65 million years ago (earliest Paleocene Epoch)

Find the clickable hot spots for details and evidence, or follow the links below. (Click to see larger image)

Description: In a flash, around 65.5 million years ago, an asteroid the size of Denver struck the shallow seas that covered Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Dinosaurs and their ecosystems were literally blown away. This post-extinction landscape is lush from warm weather and ample rain along the Front Range, but there are only a few types of trees. Extinct relatives of sycamores, walnut trees, and palm trees are the most common. Small nocturnal mammals roam the forest floor, none much larger than a raccoon. Turtles and crocodiles are now the largest land animals.

Formation: D1 - Denver Formation

Artist: Donna Braginetz

Best Viewing Spots:

  • South Table Mountain
  • Green Mountain
  • Highlands Ranch Open Space
  • Rampart Park

If you visit the main terminal at DIA, you can see a small exhibit about the fossils collected during the construction of the airport in 1990 and 1991. The painting in this exhibit was the inspiration for the Ancient Denvers Project.

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