|Regional usage||Global (ICS)|
|Time scale(s) used||ICS Time Scale|
|First proposed by||George Halcott Chadwick, 1930|
|Time span formality||Formal|
|Lower boundary definition||Appearance of the Ichnofossil Treptichnus pedum|
|Lower boundary GSSP||Fortune Head section, Newfoundland, Canada|
|Lower GSSP ratified||1992|
|Upper boundary definition||N/A|
|Upper boundary GSSP||N/A|
|Upper GSSP ratified||N/A|
The Phanerozoic is the current and the latest of the four geologic eons in the Earth's geologic time scale, covering the time period from 538.8 million years ago to the present. It is the eon during which abundant animal and plant life has proliferated, diversified and colonized various niches on the Earth's surface, beginning with the Cambrian period when animals first developed hard shells that can be clearly preserved in the fossil record. The time before the Phanerozoic, collectively called the Precambrian, is now divided into the Hadean, Archaean and Proterozoic eons.
The time span of the Phanerozoic starts with the sudden appearance of fossilised evidence of a number of animal phyla; the evolution of those phyla into diverse forms; the evolution of plants; the evolution of fish, arthropods and molluscs; the terrestrial colonization and evolution of insects, chelicerates, myriapods and tetrapods; and the development of modern fauna dominated by vascular plants. During this time span, tectonic forces which move the continents had collected them into a single landmass known as Pangaea (the most recent supercontinent), which then separated into the current continental landmasses.
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