Name formalityFormal
Alternate spelling(s)Palaeozoic
Usage information
Celestial bodyEarth
Regional usageGlobal (ICS)
Time scale(s) usedICS Time Scale
Chronological unitEra
Stratigraphic unitErathem
Lower boundary definitionAppearance of the Ichnofossil Treptichnus pedum
Lower boundary GSSPFortune Head section, Newfoundland, Canada
47°04′34″N 55°49′52″W / 47.0762°N 55.8310°W / 47.0762; -55.8310
Lower GSSP ratified1992
Upper boundary definitionFirst appearance of the Conodont Hindeodus parvus.
Upper boundary GSSPMeishan, Zhejiang, China
31°04′47″N 119°42′21″E / 31.0798°N 119.7058°E / 31.0798; 119.7058
Upper GSSP ratified2001

The Paleozoic (IPA: /ˌpæli.əˈzoʊ.ɪk,-i.oʊ-, ˌpeɪ-/ PAL-ee-ə-ZOH-ik, -⁠ee-oh-, PAY-;[1] or Palaeozoic) Era is the first of three geological eras of the Phanerozoic Eon. Beginning 538.8 million years ago (Ma), it succeeds the Neoproterozoic (the last era of the Proterozoic Eon) and ends 251.9 Ma at the start of the Mesozoic Era.[2] The Paleozoic is subdivided into six geologic periods (from oldest to youngest):

Some geological timescales divide the Paleozoic informally into early and late sub-eras: the Early Paleozoic consisting of the Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian; the Late Paleozoic consisting of the Devonian, Carboniferous and Permian.[3]

The name Paleozoic was first used by Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873) in 1838[4] to describe the Cambrian and Ordovician periods. It was redefined by John Phillips (1800–1874) in 1840 to in cover the Cambrian to Permian periods.[5] It is derived from the Greek palaiós (παλαιός, "old") and zōḗ (ζωή, "life") meaning "ancient life".[6]

The Paleozoic was a time of dramatic geological, climatic, and evolutionary change. The Cambrian witnessed the most rapid and widespread diversification of life in Earth's history, known as the Cambrian explosion, in which most modern phyla first appeared. Arthropods, molluscs, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and synapsids all evolved during the Paleozoic. Life began in the ocean but eventually transitioned onto land, and by the late Paleozoic, great forests of primitive plants covered the continents, many of which formed the coal beds of Europe and eastern North America. Towards the end of the era, large, sophisticated synapsids and diapsids were dominant and the first modern plants (conifers) appeared.

The Paleozoic Era ended with the largest extinction event of the Phanerozoic Eon,[a] the Permian–Triassic extinction event. The effects of this catastrophe were so devastating that it took life on land 30 million years into the Mesozoic Era to recover.[7] Recovery of life in the sea may have been much faster.[8]

  1. ^ "Paleozoic". HarperCollins. Retrieved 2023-08-30.
  2. ^ "International Commission on Stratigraphy". Retrieved 2023-08-01.
  3. ^ "Geological timechart". British Geological Survey. Retrieved 2023-08-01.
  4. ^ Sedgwick, Adam (1838). "A synopsis of the English series of stratified rocks inferior to the Old Red Sandstone – with an attempt to determine the successive natural groups and formations". Proceedings of the Geological Society of London. 2 (58): 675–685, esp. p. 685. Archived from the original on 2023-04-10. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  5. ^ "Penny cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. v.17 Org-Per". HathiTrust. Retrieved 2023-08-01.
  6. ^ "Paleozoic". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  7. ^ Sahney, S. & Benton, M.J. (2008). "Recovery from the most profound mass extinction of all time". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 275 (1636): 759–65. doi:10.1098/rspb.2007.1370. PMC 2596898. PMID 18198148.
  8. ^ "Dead-ammonite bounce". Science & technology. The Economist. 5 July 2010.

Cite error: There are <ref group=lower-alpha> tags or {{efn}} templates on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=lower-alpha}} template or {{notelist}} template (see the help page).

Powered by 654 easy search