Paleozoic Earth ] Back | Next >

Location
 Worldwide
 365 million years ago

Mean atmospheric O2
 75% of modern level

Mean atmospheric CO2
 8x pre-industrial level

Mean temperature
 6C above modern level

 

Paleozoic Earth - A close-up of a Late Devonian Ichthyostega featuring a Rhacophyton ceratangium (R-rhacophyton), prehistoric roaches and a millipede; Famennian stage; missing link; tetrapod; paleontology; paleobiology; paleobotany - Natural History Illustration Geologic Time Scale

 Era: Paleozoic
  Period: Devonian
   Epoch: Late
    Age: Famennian

     
 

Ichthyostega portrait

Close-up of a three-foot-long tetrapod of the genus Ichthyostega 365 million years ago in what is today the Canadian Arctic. Flanking the Ichthyostega are Rhacophyton ceratangium, a species of unclassified ancient shrub that are thought to be one of the earliest ferns. The reddish fruit-like nodules attached to the fronds on the right are sporangia, enclosures in which spores are formed. The large tree-like trunk on the far left is the base of a young Archaeopteris.

In the foreground are prehistoric arthropods--a millipede on the left and on the right "roachoids" on trunk of a decaying Lycopsid. Arthropods had been walking the Earth for 40 million years before vertebrates like Ichthyostega began venturing ashore.

Ichthyostega was one of the earliest tetrapods, a descendent of lobe-finned fishes and ancestor of amphibians. Ichthyostega had lungs and seven-toed limbs that allowed it to move about the shallow waters and shores of swamps and floodplains. It was among the first terrestrial vertebrates.

 

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Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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