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Era in planet Earth's geological record lasting from ~65 million years ago to the present.
The Cenozoic era, which begins with the Cretaceous mass extinction 65 million years ago (mya), literally is the modern era. Like the Mesozoic and Paleozoic eras that proceded it, the Cenozoic era can be differentiated into periods, particularly the Paleogene (65-23 mya), Neogene (23-2.5 mya), and Quaternary (2.5 mya to present) periods.
As the most recent of eras, and as a consequence that era which we know the most about, the Cenozoic era is most usefully broken up into epochs (that is, in terms of size and nesting, eons > eras > perods > epochs). For the Cenozoic era there are seven recognized epochs, the first three of which are found in the Paleogene period, the next two of which make up the Neogene period, and the last two of which define the Quaternary Period:
The Cenozoic era is preceded by the Mesozoic era.
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