The Paleozoic Period began about 542 mya and ended around 251 mya. It was a time of great changes on planet Earth. As this geological period began a super-continent began to breakup as another one began to form. Plants started to become more widespread and this period saw the first emergence of vertebrae animals on land.
The Paleozoic Period was the earliest geologic period and is normally divided into 6 smaller geologic periods (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and the Permian. It was during the Cambrian Period that our planet saw a great explosion of life known as the “Cambrian Explosion.” Fish, arthropods, amphibians, anapsids, synapsids, euryapsids, and diaspids evolved during the Paleozoic Period.
Evolutionary theory holds that life began in the oceans and transformed onto land. Vast forests with primitive plants began to cover the land masses and in time many of these began to form the great coal beds we see in Europe and eastern North America today. It was towards the end of this period that we see the first modern plants emerge. But the Paleozoic was not a complete “Paradise” as the end of this period brought about the largest extinction event in Earth’s history! This has come to be known as the “Permian-Triassic Extinction Event.”
The Permian-Triassic Extinction Event was a big deal! The effects of it were so devastating that it took land life 30 million years to recover and it’s believed that it took sea life even longer to recover!!
Within the Paleozoic is a smaller geologic period known as the Carboniferous Period which began about 359 mya and ended about 299 mya. It was during this time that average global temperatures were high. In the early part of this period global average temps averaged around 20 degrees Celcius (68 Fahrenheit) but had cooled to around 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) by the middle of the period. Continue Reading