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Geological Time Scale

Time from
Duration
beginning to
in Geological
Era Period Epoch present Plant Life Animal Life
Millions Conditions
(Millions of
of Years
Years)
End of last age., Decline of Age of man
climate warmer Woody
plants; rise
Recent 0.025 0.025
of
Quaternary herbaceous
ones
Repeated Great Extinction of great
Pleistocene I 1 glaciations; Ice extinction mammals; first human
ages of Species social life
Decline of
forests;
Continued rise spread of
of mountains of grasslands; Man evolving: elephants,
Pliocene II 12 Western North flowering Horses, Camels almost like
America: plants, modern species.
volcanic activity monocotyl
edons
developed
Sierra and
Cenozoic cascade
(Age of mountains
Mammals at height of
Mammals) formed;
Miocene 16 28 evolution; first man-like
volcanic activity
apes.
in northwest
Tertiary U.S.; climate
cooler
Maximum
spread of
forests; rise Archaic mammals extinct;
Lands lower, of rise of Arthropods; fore-
Oligocene 11 39
climate warmer monocotyl runners of most-living
edons, genera of mammals
flowering
plants
Mountains
Placental mammals
eroded; no
diversified and specialized,
Eocene 19 58 continental
hoofed mammals and
seas; climate
carnivores established
warmer
Paleocene 17 75 Spread of archaic mammals
Rocky Mountain Revolution (Little destruction of Fossils)
Dinosaurs
reached peak,
Andes, Alps, became
First
Himalayas, extinct;
monocotyledons;
Rockies formed toothed birds
first oak and
Cretaceous 60 135 late; earlier became
maple forests;
inland seas and extinct, first
gymnosperms
swamps; chalk, modern birds;
declined
shale deposited archaic
Mesozoic mammals
(Age of common
Reptiles) First toothed
Continents fairly birds;
Increase of
high; shallow seas dinosaurs
dicotyledons,
Jurassic 30 165 over some of larger and
cycads and
Europe and specialized;
conifers common
western U.S insectivorous
marsupials
Continents Gymnosperms First
Triassic 40 205 exposed; dominant dinosaurs,
widespread declining toward pterosaurs

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desert conditions; end; extinction of and egg laying
many land seed ferns mammals
deposits ;extinction of
primitive
amphibians
Appalachian Revolution ( Some loss of fossils)
Permian 25 230 Continents rose; Decline of Many ancient
Appalachians lycopods and animals died
formed; horsetails out; mammals
increasing like reptiles;
glaciations and modern
aridity insects arose
Pennsylvanian 25 255 Lands at first low; Great forests of First reptiles;
Carboniferous great coal seed ferns and insects
swamps gymnosperms common;
spread of
ancient
amphibians
Mississippian 25 280 Climate warm Lycopods and Sea lilies at
Carboniferous and humid at horsetails height; spread
first, cooler later dominant; of ancient
Paleozoic as land rose gymnosperms sharks
(Age of increasingly
Ancient widespread
life) Devonian 45 325 Smaller inland First forests; land First
seas; land higher, plants well amphibians;
more arid; established; first lung fishes
glaciations established sharks
abundant
Silurian 35 360 Extensive First definite Marine
continental seas; evidence of land arachnids
lowlands plants; algae dominants;
increasingly arid dominant first(wingless)
as land rose insets; rise of
fishes
Ordovician 65 425 Great Land plants First fishes’
submergence of probably first probably fresh
land; warm appeared; water; corals,
climates even in marine algae trilobites
Arctic abundant abundant;
diversified
molluscs
Cambrian 80 505 Land low, climate Marine algae Trilobites,
mild; earliest branchiopods
rocks with dominant;
abundant fossils most modern
phyla
established
Second Great Revolution (Considerable loss of fossils)
1500 2000 Great Primitive aquatic Various
sedimentation; plants-algae, marine
volcanic activity fungi protozoa;
later, extensive towards end,
Proterozoic erosion, repeated molluscs,
glaciations worms, other
marine
invertebrates
First Great Revolution (Considerable loss of fossils)
???? ??? Great volcanic No recognizable fossils; indirect
Archeozoic activity some evidence of living things from
sedimentary deposits of organic material in rock
deposition;
extensive erosion

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