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Phanerozoic eon
542 - 0 million years ago
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Scale:
Millions of years

The Phanerozoic (Brit. Phanærozoic) eon is the current eon in the geologic timescale, and the one during which abundant animal life has existed. It covers roughly 545 million years and goes back to the time when diverse hard-shelled animals first appeared. Its name is derived from the Greek words φαίνω and ζωή, meaning make life appear, since it was once believed that life began in the Cambrian, the first period of this eon. The time before the Phanerozoic, formerly called the Precambrian, is now divided into the Hadean, Archaean and Proterozoic eons.

During the Phanerozoic the biodiversity shows a steady but not monotonic increase from near zero to several thousands of genera.

The exact time of the boundary between the Phanerozoic and the Proterozoic is slightly uncertain. In the 19th Century, the boundary was set at the first abundant metazoan fossils. But several hundred taxa of Proterozoic metazoa have been identified since systematic study of those forms started in the 1950s. Most geologists and paleontologists would probably set the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic boundary either at the classic point where the first trilobites and archaeocyatha appear; at the first appearance of a complex feeding burrow called Trichophycus pedum; or at the first appearance of a group of small, generally disarticulated, armored forms termed 'the small shelly fauna'. The three different dividing points are within a few million years of each other.

The Phanerozoic is divided into three eras: the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. In the older literature, the term Phanerozoic is generally used as a label for the time period of interest to paleontologists, but that use of the term seems to be falling into disuse in more modern literature.

The time span of the Phanerozoic includes the rapid emergence of a number of animal phyla; the evolution of these phyla into diverse forms; the emergence of terrestrial plants; the development of complex plants; the evolution of fish; the emergence of terrestrial animals; and the development of modern faunas. During the period covered, continents drifted about, eventually collecting into a single landmass known as Pangea and then splitting up into the current continental landmasses.

See also

References

  • Markov, Alexander V.; Korotayev, Andrey V. (2007). "Phanerozoic marine biodiversity follows a hyperbolic trend". Palaeoworld 16 (4): 311–318. doi:10.1016/j.palwor.2007.01.002.  
  • Miller, K. G.; et al. (2005). "The Phanerozoic record of global sea-level change". Science 310 (5752): 1293–1298. doi:10.1126/science.1116412. PMID 16311326.  
Preceded by Proterozoic eon 542 Ma - Phanerozoic eon - Present
542 Ma - Paleozoic era - 251 Ma 251 Ma - Mesozoic era - 65 Ma 65 Ma - Cenozoic era - Present
Cambrian Ordovician Silurian Devonian Carboniferous Permian Triassic Jurassic Cretaceous Paleogene Neogene Quaternary
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

Pronunciation

Adjective

Phanerozoic (comparative more Phanerozoic, superlative most Phanerozoic)

Positive
Phanerozoic

Comparative
more Phanerozoic

Superlative
most Phanerozoic

  1. (geology) Of, or relating to the geologic eon from about 570 million years ago to the present; comprises the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.

Proper noun

Singular
Phanerozoic

Plural
-

Phanerozoic

  1. (geology) The Phanerozoic eon.

See also


Simple English

File:Phanerozoic
During the Phanerozoic the biodiversity shows a general increase from near zero to several thousands of genera.

The Phanerozoic (British: Phanærozoic) eon is the current eon in the geologic timescale. and the one during which abundant animal life has existed. It covers roughly 545 million years and goes back to the time when diverse hard-shelled animals first appeared. Its name is derived from the Greek words φαίνω and ζωή, meaning make life appear, since it was once believed that life began in the Cambrian, the first geological period of this eon. The time before the Phanerozoic, formerly called the Precambrian, is now divided into the Hadean, Archaean and Proterozoic eons.

Details

The exact time of the boundary between the Phanerozoic and the Proterozoic is slightly uncertain. In the 19th Century, the boundary was set at the first abundant metazoan fossils. But several hundred taxa of Proterozo metazoa have been identified since systematic study of those forms started in the 1950s. Most geologists and paleontologists would probably set the Proterozoic-Phanerozoic boundary either at the classic point where the first trilobites and archaeocyatha appear; at the first appearance of a complex feeding burrow called Trichophycus pedum; or at the first appearance of a group of small, generally disarticulated, armored forms termed the small shelly fauna. The three different dividing points are within a few million years of each other.

The Phanerozoic is divided into three eras: the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, and Cainozoic. In the older literature, the term Phanerozoic is generally used as a label for the time period of interest to paleontologists, but that use of the term seems to be falling into disuse in more modern literature.

The time span of the Phanerozoic includes the rapid emergence of a number of animal phyla; the evolution of these phyla into diverse forms; the emergence of terrestrial plants; the development of complex plants; the evolution of fish; the emergence of terrestrial animals; and the development of modern faunas. During the period covered, continents drifted about, eventually collecting into a single landmass known as Pangea and then splitting up into the current continental landmasses.


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