Portal:Paleozoic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The Paleozoic Portal

Tiktaalik BW flopped.jpg

Introduction

The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era ( /ˌpliəˈzɪk, ˌpæ-/; from the Greek palaios (παλαιός), "old" and zoe (ζωή), "life", meaning "ancient life") is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic Eon. It is the longest of the Phanerozoic eras, lasting from 541 to 251.902 million years ago, and is subdivided into six geologic periods (from oldest to youngest): the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian. The Paleozoic comes after the Neoproterozoic Era of the Proterozoic Eon and is followed by the Mesozoic Era.

The Paleozoic was a time of dramatic geological, climatic, and evolutionary change. The Cambrian witnessed the most rapid and widespread diversification of life in Earth's history, known as the Cambrian explosion, in which most modern phyla first appeared. Arthropods, molluscs, fish, amphibians, synapsids and diapsids all evolved during the Paleozoic. Life began in the ocean but eventually transitioned onto land, and by the late Paleozoic, it was dominated by various forms of organisms. Great forests of primitive plants covered the continents, many of which formed the coal beds of Europe and eastern North America. Towards the end of the era, large, sophisticated diapsids and synapsids were dominant and the first modern plants (conifers) appeared.

The Paleozoic Era ended with the largest extinction event in the history of Earth, the Permian–Triassic extinction event. The effects of this catastrophe were so devastating that it took life on land 30 million years into the Mesozoic Era to recover. Recovery of life in the sea may have been much faster.

Show new selections below (purge)

Selected article on the Paleozoic world and its legacies

Life restoration of Diplocaulus.
Amphibians are ectothermic, tetrapod vertebrates of the class Amphibia (Greek ἀμφí, amphi, "both" + βíος, bios, "life"). They inhabit a wide variety of habitats with most species living within terrestrial, fossorial, arboreal or freshwater aquatic ecosystems. Amphibians typically start out as larvaliving in water, but some species have developed behavioural adaptations to bypass this. The young generally undergo metamorphosis from larva with gills to an adult air-breathing form with lungs.

The earliest amphibians evolved in the Devonian Period from sarcopterygian fish with lungs and bony-limbed fins, features that were helpful in adapting to dry land. They diversified and became dominant during the Carboniferous and Permian periods, but were later displaced by reptiles and other vertebrates. Over time, amphibians shrank in size and decreased in diversity, leaving only the modern subclass Lissamphibia. The three modern orders of amphibians are Anura (the frogs and toads), Caudata/Urodela (the salamanders), and Gymnophiona/Apoda (the caecilians). The total number of known amphibian species is approximately 7,000, of which nearly 90% are frogs. The largest living amphibian is the 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) but this is dwarfed by the extinct 9 m (30 ft) Prionosuchus from the middle Permian of Brazil. The study of amphibians is called batrachology, while the study of both reptiles and amphibians is called herpetology. (see more...)

Selected article on the Paleozoic in human science, culture and economics

Photograph of Edward Drinker Cope
Edward Drinker Cope (July 28, 1840 – April 12, 1897) was an American paleontologist and comparative anatomist, as well as a noted herpetologist and ichthyologist. Cope distinguished himself as a child prodigy, publishing his first scientific paper at the age of nineteen. Cope later married and moved from Philadelphia to Haddonfield, New Jersey, although Cope would maintain a residence and museum in Philadelphia in his later years.

Cope had little formal scientific training, and he eschewed a teaching position for field work. He made regular trips to the American West prospecting in the 1870s and 1880s, often as a member of United States Geological Survey teams. A personal feud between Cope and paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh led to a period of intense fossil-finding competition now known as the Bone Wars. Cope's financial fortunes soured after failed mining ventures in the 1880s. He experienced a resurgence in his career toward the end of his life before dying in 1897.

Cope's scientific pursuits nearly bankrupted him, but his contributions helped to define the field of American paleontology. He was a prodigious writer, with 1,400 papers published over his lifetime, although his rivals would debate the accuracy of his rapidly published works. He discovered, described, and named more than 1,000 vertebrate species including hundreds of fishes and dozens of dinosaurs. His proposals on the origin of mammalian molars and for the gradual enlargement of mammalian species over geologic time ("Cope's Law") are notable among his theoretical contributions. (see more...)

Selected image

Did you know?

Restoration Tambachia.

Need help?

Do you have a question about Paleozoic that you can't find the answer to?

Consider asking it at the Wikipedia reference desk.

Topics

Geochronology - Cambrian (Early - Middle - Late) - Ordovician (Early - Middle - Late) - Silurian (Early - Wenlock - Ludlow - Late) - Devonian (Early - Middle - Late) - Carboniferous (Mississippian - Pennsylvanian)- Permian (Early - Middle - Late)

Paleozoic landmasses - Pannotia - Baltica - Laurentia - Siberia - Avalonia -Gondwanaland - Laurentia - Euramerica - Gondwana - South China- Pangaea

Major Paleozoic events - Cambrian Explosion - Cambrian substrate revolution - End-Botomian mass extinction - Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event

Cambrian biota appearances - Brachiopods - Burgess shale fauna - Cephalopods - Chitons - Crustaceans - Echinoderms - Foraminiferans - Graptolites - Radiolarians -Trilobites - Vertebrates

Ordovician biota appearances - Conodonts - Echinoids

Silurian biota appearances - Fungi - Galeaspids - Heterostracans - Land plants - Pituriaspids -Ray-finned fishes - Scorpions - Trigonotarbids

Devonian biota appearances - Crabs - Ferns - Harvestmen - Lichens - Lycophytes - Mites -Springtails - Stoneworts - Trimerophytes

Carboniferous biota appearances - Amphibians - Hagfishes - Insects - Ratfishes - Reptiles -Synapsids

Permian biota appearances - Beetles - Pelycosaurs - Temnospondyls - Therapsids

Fossil sites - Bear Gulch Limestone - Beecher's Trilobite Bed - Gilboa Forest - Grenfell fossil site - Hamilton Quarry - Mazon Creek fossil beds - Mississippi Petrified Forest - Walcott Quarry - Walcott–Rust quarry - Yea Flora Fossil Site

Stratigraphic units - Burgess Shale - Chazy Formation - Columbus Limestone - Fezouata formation - Francis Creek Shale - Gogo Formation - Holston Formation - Hunsrück Slate - Jeffersonville Limestone - Karoo Supergroup - Keyser Formation - Kope Formation - Llewellyn Formation - Mahantango Formation - Maotianshan Shales - Marcellus Formation - Millstone Grit - New Albany Shale - Old Port Formation - Old Red Sandstone - Potsdam Sandstone - Red Beds of Texas and Oklahoma - Rhynie chert - Shawangunk Formation - St. Peter Sandstone - Tuscarora Formation

History - History of paleontology - Timeline of paleontology - The Great Devonian Controversy

Researchers - Charles Emerson Beecher - Ermine Cowles Case - Edward Drinker Cope - Henry De la Beche - Stephen Jay Gould - Increase A. Lapham - Charles Lapworth - Simon Conway Morris - Roderick Murchison - Alfred Sherwood Romer - Neil Shubin - Charles Doolittle Walcott

Culture - Animal Armageddon - The Day The Earth Nearly Died - List of creatures in the Walking with... series - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives - Miracle Planet - Prehistoric Park - Sea Monsters - Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology - Vertebrate Paleontology - Walking with Monsters - Wonderful Life

Quality Content

Things you can do

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database