On theoretical grounds, an analysis of the physiognomy of a Tertiary leaf assemblage is more direct and reliable than a circuitous floristic analysis in assigning thermal regimes to fossil assemblages. Using primarily foliar physiognomy and secondarily floristic composition, it can be shown that: (1) some middle latitude Tertiary assemblages probably lived under meteoroligically tropical climates; (2) a major and rapid climatic deterioration occurred in the Oligocene; and (3) a major climatic fluctuation probably occurred in the Late Eocene. These analyses thus substantiate the conclusions of several other paleobotanists regarding climatic fluctuations. Recent criticisms of these analyses are shown to be invalid and to be based largely on misinterpretations. ?? 1971.