This site is a product of more than 20 years of literature research on Paleocene mammals. I'm an amateur paleontologist living in the south of Germany. I have been fascinated by the evolution of mammals since my early youth. My interest soon focused on the interval in which mammals rose to dominance, the Paleocene. This critical epoch was, however, poorly covered by the popular literature which was then available to me. To find out more, I started to exploit the resources of the local university library. I first learnt how professional paleontology looks like when I came across Matthew's monumental "Paleocene faunas of the San Juan Basin". Such technical stuff was a of course tough for a boy of thirteen, which I was then. Yet it was through works like this that I gradually became familiar with things like the complex structure of mammal teeth and the subtleties of zoological nomenclature. Though I later chose to study engineering, which is now my profession, the study of Paleocene mammals has always continued to be a fascinating occupation in my spare time.
To organize the information extracted from the literature, I started to compile a list of Paleocene vertebrates in 1985, first on paper, later using the cardfile tool that came with the early versions of Windows. For the mammals, my real area of interest and expertise, I finally transferred the list into a set of HTML documents in order to make it available on the internet. This compilation formed the core of my website when I first installed it in October 2000, and I keep updating it according to new research results. Lists on Paleocene birds, reptiles and amphibians were added early in 2006. Time for my hobby and access to the latest information are both limited, so some time can pass until new publications are taken into account in this directory. Nevertheless, the list should now be quite complete for mammal genera and species described until the year 2000.
Following suggestions from visitors of my site, I have also started writing a series of summary articles on the Paleocene fauna, in which I plan to treat all major groups of mammals (and some other vertebrates) of that time. This is a very time consuming project. It still requires me to do a lot of literature research for each group, and presenting the often scanty bits of information in an appealing way is no easy task for me, especially in a foreign language. So please be patient if progress is slow.
If you are an expert on early mammals, you can support my work by sending publications related to Paleocene mammals and by reporting any errors or omissions in the material presented here. I would also be grateful to native-speakers for improving the English of my summary articles. Just contact me in these cases.
One final personal word: After many years of studying the fossil record on early mammals, I am convinced that evolution is in fact the mechanism that, from a scientific point of view, explains what we see now recorded in the rocks. This is for me fully compatible with my Christian beliefs, and this site is also my own way of praising the Lord for the wonderful complexity of his creation.
Martin Jehle, May 2006
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