Read e-book online The Paleozoic Era. Diversification of Plant and Animal Life PDF

By John P Rafferty

Characterised via a surge in biodiversity and evolutionary improvement, the Paleozoic period ushered within the beginnings of lifestyles as we all know it. inside of those pages, readers will become aware of the fossil and geologic facts from this time that finds a dynamic planet, the place new species of vegetation and animals have been regularly rising and continents have been breaking up and reforming. whereas a number of the species from this period at the moment are extinct and the continents are rather reliable, remnants of this period nonetheless proceed to shed much-needed gentle at the stipulations of Earth, either earlier and current.

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In some Cambrian limestones, however, skeletal plates of echinoderms are a dominant sedimentary constituent, indicating the existence of innumerable animals and suggesting far greater diversity, especially at low taxonomic levels, than has been recorded. As in some modern echinoderm species, it is common for those in the Cambrian to show evidence of a gregarious habit and patchy distribution. Most of the Cambrian echinoderms were suspension and detritus feeders, and it was only after the Cambrian that herbivores and carnivores became common.

Because of low sea level, the sedimentary and fossil records of the Precambrian-Cambrian transition are generally most complete toward the outer margins of continental shelves. As a corollary, the time gaps, represented by the boundary surface, generally increase in landward directions. This has led to an absence or serious incompleteness of the transitional record in most areas, particularly in those of classical Cambrian studies. As a result, it is thought that this incompleteness, combined with a general deficiency in knowledge—prior to the mid-1900s—of Precambrian communities, contributed significantly to the long-held notion of an abrupt or sudden appearance of Cambrian fossils.

The fossils in the Burgess Shale are therefore extremely detailed and include soft body parts and animals without an exoskeleton that would normally have decomposed before becoming fossilized. This remarkable find has given scientists a much more complete picture of life in the Cambrian period than would be afforded by more typical fossil formations. More than 60,000 specimens have been identified from fossils in the Burgess Shale. Many of these organisms have no living counterparts today. The Ordovician period, approximately 488 to 443 million years ago, is when almost every modern phylum of marine invertebrate began to appear, as well as the first fishes.

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The Paleozoic Era. Diversification of Plant and Animal Life by John P Rafferty

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