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Cenozoic

Mesozoic

Paleozoic

Quaternary

Tertiary

Cretaceous

Jurassic

Triassic

Permian

Carboniferous

Devonian

Silurian

Ordovician

Cambrian

Pre-

Cambrian

Most modern organisms present.

After the extinction of the dinosaurs. Mammals, birds, and flowering plants diversify.

Massive carnivorous and flying dinosaurs are abundant. Large cone-bearing plants dominate forests. Flowering plants appear.

Huge plant-eating dinosaurs evolve. Forests are dominated by cycads and tree ferns.

Early dinosaurs, mammals, and cycads appear on land. Life "restarts" in the oceans.

Early reptiles appear on land. Seedless plants abundant. Coral and trilobites abundant in oceans. Permian ends with extinction of 95% of living organisms.

Land is dominated by dense forests of seedless plants. Insects become abundant. Large amphibians appear.

Known as the age of fishes. Sharks and bony fish appear. Large trilobites are abundant in the

Life begins to invade land. The first colonists are small seedless plants, primitive insects, and soft-bodied animals.

Life is diverse in the oceans. Cephalopods appear and trilobites are common.

All modern animal groups appear in the oceans. Algae are abundant.

Life is dominated by single-celled organisms in the ocean. Ediacaran fauna appear at the end of the era

After the extinction of the dinosaurs. Mammals, birds, and flowering plants diversify.

Early dinosaurs, mammals, and cycads appear on land. Life "restarts" in the oceans.

Early reptiles appear on land. Seedless plants abundant. Coral and trilobites abundant in oceans. Permian ends with extinction of 95% of living organisms.

All modern animal groups appear in the oceans. Algae are abundant.

Life is dominated by single-celled organisms in the ocean. Ediacaran fauna appear at the end of the era

Table E3.2 Geological periods. The history of life is divided into four major eras with all but the first era divided into several periods. Periods are marked by major changes in the dominant organisms present on Earth.

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