The transition from the Eocene to the Oligocene epoch was the most significant event in Earth history since the extinction of dinosaurs. As the first Antarctic ice sheets appeared, major extinctions and faunal turnovers took place in the land and in the sea, eliminating forms adapted to a tropical world and replacing them with the ancestors of most of our modern animal and plant life. Through a detailed study of climatic conditions and of organisms buried in Eocene-Oligocene sediments, this volume shows that the separation of Antarctica from Australia was a critical factor in changing oceanic circulation and ultimately world climate. In this book, contributors examine the full range of Eocene and Oligocene phenomena. Their articles cover nearly every major group of organisms in the ocean and on land and include evidence from palaeontology, stable isotopes, sedimentology, seismology and computer climatic modelling. The volume concludes with an update of the geochronological framework of the late Palaeogenic period.