Q:

What happened during the Cambrian explosion?

A:

Quick Answer

The Cambrian explosion saw the rapid evolution and emergence of various life forms. However, geologists claim that organisms belonging to some major phyla already diversified prior to the Cambrian period, with further evidence suggesting that the evolutionary process at that time was gradual, rather than explosive.

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Full Answer

The Cambrian explosion, otherwise known as the Cambrian radiation, occurred during the Paleozoic era. Scientists believe that various factors may have triggered the sudden change, including an increase in oxygen levels, a shift in climatic conditions and the creation of more habitable environments. Some animals that flourished during the Cambrian period were the brachiopods, arthropods, nematodes, fungi and chordates, to which the human species belongs.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What happened at the end of the Mesozoic Era, but not at the end of the Paleozoic Era?

    A:

    While both the Mesozoic and Paleozoic Eras ended with mass extinctions, the Mesozoic ended at approximately the same time a massive meteor is believed to have hit the Earth. This probably caused drastic climate change, killing off most of the dinosaurs and many other species.

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  • Q:

    What caused the Paleozoic Era to end?

    A:

    The Paleozoic Era, which marked the appearance of almost all animal phyla within a few million years, was ended by a mass extinction. The mass extinction was the virtual opposite of what started the era, with over 90 percent of the world's life being wiped out. Recovery from this mass extinction took almost 30 million years.

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  • Q:

    What was the Paleozoic Era climate?

    A:

    The climate of the Paleozoic Era varied as the period began with large glaciers covering the surface of the Earth, which gave way to warmer temperatures, glacial melt and volcanic activity. The Paleozoic Era existed 545 to 248 million years ago. Increasing frequency and power of volcanic eruptions drew the once-separate continents of Earth closer together and warmed land and sea temperatures, leading to an abundance of life forms.

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  • Q:

    Which era occurred just before the current era?

    A:

    The era occurring before the current geologic era was the Mesozoic, which began roughly 245 million years ago and ended about 64 million years ago. The Mesozoic era consisted of three periods; from oldest to more recent, they are the Triassic, the Jurassic and the Cretaceous periods.

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