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ASSIGNMENTS FALL 2015
The Carboniferous period lasted roughly 359.2 to 299 M.Y.A. The continents at this time had lots of warm shallow marine water flooding. The plant life was exceptionally tropical given it's high humidity atmosphere. Fresh water clams made their first appearance at this time, as well as bony fish and shark diversity.
During this period large coal beds were very prevalent as well due to erosion. The erosion was caused by an uplift in the continents as they moved closer to form Pangaea. Forcing water to flood the planes resulting in warm shallow waters for fish and other life to reside.
The Carboniferous Period
The Devonian Period
"The Carboniferous Period is famous for its vast swamp forests, such as the one depicted here. Such swamps produced the coal from which the term Carboniferous, or "carbon-bearing," is derived."
"Animals have been laying eggs for millions of years; snails, fish, and many other critters produce eggs from which their young hatch. The egg of the chicken is a special kind of egg. It has a shell to help prevent drying, and a series of membranes that surround the developing chick. This kind of egg is unique to the amniotes, a group that includes two large clades: Synapsida (mammals and their relatives) and Diapsida (reptiles, dinosaurs, and birds). Amniota also includes a few odd groups, like turtles, whose relationships are murky. Perhaps seeing mammals on this list surprised you since most mammals do not lay eggs, but the earliest mammals did lay eggs, and a few, such as the monotremes, still do. To understand this, you must first understand the structure of the amniote egg."
"Though many spectacular plant forms dominated the Carboniferous, most of them disappeared before the end of the Paleozoic. On the left, Neuropteris, a leaf form associated with the cycad-like seed-ferns. On the right, terminal branches from Lepidodendron sternbergii, one of the great scale trees, most of which went extinct in the late Middle Pennsylvanian."
"Many groups that appeared in the Carboniferous would give rise to groups that dominated the Permian and Mesozoic. On the left is Amphibiamus lyelli, an early temnospondyl. These amphibian-like early tetrapods grew to the size of crocodiles in the Permian and Triassic. On the right, Lebachia, an early relative of the conifers."
Age of Fish and Amphibians = 410-286 MYA
Devonian period = 410-360 mya
Carboniferous = 360-290 mya
The Carboniferous period lasted roughly between 359.2 to 299 M.Y.A in the late Paleozoic. The term "Carboniferous comes from England, coming from the rich deposits of coal that occur through out the earth.
"Biologically, we see one of the greatest evolutionary innovations of the Carboniferous: the
, which allowed for the further exploitation of the land by certain tetra-pods. It gave the ancestors of birds, mammals, and reptiles the ability to lay their eggs on land without fear of desiccation."
Life in the Carboniferous period:
The climates in the Carboniferous Period was very tropical and humid around the globe. The plant life during this period resembled those in Tropical and similar areas today. The land was mostly warm, shallow, marine waters flooding through out the continents. "Attached filter feeders such as bryozoans, particularly fenestellids, were abundant in this environment, and the sea floor was dominated by brachiopods. Trilobites were increasingly scarce while foraminifers were abundant. The heavily armored fish from the
became extinct, being replaced with more modern-looking fish fauna." Uplifting in the Mississippian resulted in more erosion creating a greater number of flood planes and deltas.
The deltaic environment supported fewer corals, crinoids, blastoids, cryozoans, and bryzoans, which were extremely prevalent earlier in the Carboniferous period. After that fresh water clams made their first appearance, along with bony fish and more shark diversity.
"The uplift of the continents caused a transition to a more terrestrial environment during the Pennsylvanian Subsystem, although swamp forests were widespread. In the swamp forests, seedless plants such as lycopsids flourished and were the primary source of carbon for the coal that is characteristic of the period. The lycopods underwent a major extinction event after a drying trend, most likely caused by increased glaciation, during the Pennsylvanian. Ferns and sphenopsids became more important later during the Carboniferous, and the earliest relatives of the conifers appeared. The first land snails appeared and insects with wings that can't fold back, such as dragonflies and mayflies, flourished and radiated. These insects, as well as millipedes, scorpions, and spiders became important in the ecosystem.
A trend towards aridity and an increase in terrestrial habitat led to the increasing importance of the
for reproduction. The earliest amniote fossil was the lizard-likeHylonomus, which was lightly built with deep, strong jaws and slender limbs. The basal tetrapods became more diverse during the Carboniferous. Predators with long snouts, short sprawling limbs and flattened heads such as temnospondyls, like Amphibiamus (above) appeared. Anthracosaurs — basal tetrapods and amniotes with deep skulls and a less sprawling body plan that afforded greater agility — appeared during the Carboniferous and were quickly followed by
which divided into two groups: (1) the marine reptiles, lizards, and snakes, and (2) the
, dinosaurs, and birds. The synapsids also made their first appearance, and presumably the anapsids did as well, although the oldest fossils for that group are from the Lower Permian."
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