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Geologic Time Machine

Biological diversity increased after the Cryogenic period. The map shows the temperatures in various regions of the Earth.

Cenozoic Era
Quaternary Period, Holocene Epoch
000 Million Years Ago

Cenozoic Mesozoic

Paleozoic Neoproterozoic
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Color Codes

Geologic and Biological Timeline of the Earth
The Time Machine shows the reshaping of the continents through a portion of the geologic timeline of the Earth with examples of the biological inhabitants of each period. The early forms of life in the Neoproterozoic Era consisted of photosynthetic cyanobacteria and primitive vegetative cells like Tanarium conoideum. Diverse aquatic life forms, such as trilobites, developed during the Cambrian Period of the Paleozoic Era. The Silurian Period gave rise to fish like Dartmuthia and amphibians such as Hynerpeton. Insects appeared during the Devonian Period, and tetrapods like Acanthostega inhabited the Carboniferous Period. The Permian Period gave rise to plant-eating lizards with sails like Edaphosaurus.

Great volcanic eruptions marked the transition from the Paleozoic Era into the Mesozoic Era. Large reptiles and dinosaurs dominated the land during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Periods. A large asteroid ended the reign of the dinosaurs and allowed mammals to fill the new ecological niches during the Cenozoic Era.

The five major mass extinctions events occurred during the terminal Ordovician (443 mya), Late Devonian (374 mya), terminal Permian called the "Great Dying" (251 mya), terminal Triassic (201), and the terminal Cretaceous (65 mya), also called the K/T event.

  Details about the Geologic and Biological Timeline of the Earth


  1. Christopher R. Scotese, 1994, Continental Drift, Edition 6, Paleomap Project, University of Texas at Arlington.
    Visit Christopher R. Scotese's web site for an exceptional list of resources about Paleogeology.

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