Paleozoic Earth ] Back | Next >

Location
 Ocean surface
 500 million years ago

Mean atmospheric O2
 63% of modern level

Mean atmospheric CO2
 16x pre-industrial level

Mean temperature
 7C above modern level

 

Paleozoic Earth - Swarm of Portuguese Man o' War on the ocean's surface, blue bubble, blue bottle, man-of-war, man-o-war - Natural History Illustration Geologic Time Scale

Eon: Phanerozoic
 Era: Paleozoic
  Period: Cambrian
   Epoch: Furongian
    Age: Paibian*

     
 

Swarm of Portuguese Man o' War

A flotilla of Portuguese Man o' War from the order Siphonophora swarm over the surface of a Cambrian ocean 500 million years ago.

During the Cambrian period the Earth's oceans were teeming with life, however with the exception of some microbes, there weren't likely many life forms making an appearance above water. One of the first macro organisms to consistently expose at least part of itself to the world above was the Portuguese Man o' War. Resembling a jellyfish, the Portuguese Man O' War was--and is--in fact a siphonophore: a colony of four kinds of specialized polyps and medusoids functioning together to ensure their mutual survival. The approximately 12-inch-long air-filled bladder floating above water buoys an array of stinging tentacles that can descend to over 100 feet.

*AKA Ibexian, Ayusokkanian, Sakian, Aksayan

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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