The Carboniferous period is a division of earth’s history spanning from around 359 to 299 million years ago, and during which vast deposits of coal were formed across much of the world. The Early carboniferous enjoyed a warm climate with an atmosphere significantly richer in oxygen and CO2 than at present. In the oceans, corals, echinoderms and bivalves flourished, as did the planktonic single celled foraminifera. Sharks also began to diversify. On land, giant arthropods, such as the dragonfly-like Meganeura which grew over 70cm long, inhabited vast forests. Amphibians became an important part of land-based ecosystems and some also grew to enormous sizes. The earliest reptiles are known from this period. The Late Carboniferous suffered a significant drop in global temperatures and is characterised by glaciations, a global collapse of rainforests and a 100m drop in sea level.
Published on January 15th, 2013 | by Dave Marshall
The first animals came onto land sometime before 425 Ma. These early colonizers were members of a group called the arthropods – probably early relatives of the millipedes first, followed shortly by arachnids, and then insects ... Read More →