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What was the Paleozoic era?

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The Paleozoic Era was a prehistoric period in earth's history that ran for about 290 million years. The University of California Museum of Palaeontology reports that the beginning of the Paleozoic Era was defined by an explosion of species diversity as multicelled animals began to evolve into different species. The Paleozoic Era ended with a mass extinction event that wiped out about 90 percent of all these new species.

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Live Science explains that the Paleozoic Era is further divided into six periods, each of which was tens of millions of years in length. The first was the Cambrian Period, during which the first animals with spinal columns appeared. During the second, the Ordovician Period, many new fish and marine invertebrate species appeared. This process continued in the Silurian Period, during which time more species of fish also appeared. The fourth, the Devonian Period, was the first time animals emerged from the sea to live exclusively on land.

Further explained by Live Science is how species continued to evolve at a rapid in the second half of the Paleozoic Era. During the Carboniferous Period, animals that could lay eggs on land evolved, allowing them to further distance themselves from the water. Finally, during the Permian Period, life on land divided into herbivorous and carnivorous species.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What happened during the Paleozoic Era?

    A:

    The Paleozoic Era saw changes to Earth's landscapes, life forms and atmosphere over the course of several million years. On land, at sea, below the surface and in the skies, change occurred throughout the six distinct periods comprising the Paleozoic Era. The early Paleozoic periods introduced many plant species, while later periods brought invertebrates, dinosaurs and birds.

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  • Q:

    How long did the Paleozoic Era last?

    A:

    The Paleozoic Era lasted about 300 million years. This era comprised six periods: the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian. The Paleozoic saw the appearance of almost all groups of life.

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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:

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

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    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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