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The Carboniferous
Carboniferous
is a geologic period and system that spans 60 million years from the end of the Devonian
Devonian
Period 358.9 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Permian
Permian
Period, 298.9 Mya. The name Carboniferous
Carboniferous
means "coal-bearing" and derives from the Latin
Latin
words carbō ("coal") and ferō ("I bear, I carry"), and was coined by geologists William Conybeare and William Phillips in 1822.[6] Based on a study of the British rock succession, it was the first of the modern 'system' names to be employed, and reflects the fact that many coal beds were formed globally during that time.[7] The Carboniferous
Carboniferous
is often treated in North America
North America
as two geological periods, the earlier Mississippian and the later Pennsylvanian.[8] Terrestrial animal life was well established by the Carboniferous period.[9] Amphibians were the dominant land vertebrates, of which one branch would eventually evolve into amniotes, the first solely terrestrial vertebrates. Arthropods were also very common, and many (such as Meganeura) were much larger than those of today. Vast swaths of forest covered the land, which would eventually be laid down and become the coal beds characteristic of the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
stratigraphy evident today. The atmospheric content of oxygen also reached their highest levels in geological history during the period, 35%[10] compared with 21% today, allowing terrestrial invertebrates to evolve to great size.[10] The later half of the period experienced glaciations, low sea level, and mountain building as the continents collided to form Pangaea. A major marine and terrestrial extinction event, the Carboniferous rainforest collapse, occurred at the end of the period, caused by climate change.[11]

Contents

1 Subdivisions 2 Palaeogeography 3 Climate 4 Rocks and coal 5 Life

5.1 Plants 5.2 Marine invertebrates 5.3 Freshwater and lagoonal invertebrates 5.4 Terrestrial invertebrates 5.5 Fish 5.6 Tetrapods 5.7 Fungi

6 Extinction events

6.1 Romer's gap 6.2 Carboniferous
Carboniferous
rainforest collapse

7 See also 8 References 9 Sources 10 External links

Subdivisions[edit] In the United States
United States
the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
is usually broken into Mississippian (earlier) and Pennsylvanian (later) subperiods. The Mississippian is about twice as long as the Pennsylvanian, but due to the large thickness of coal-bearing deposits with Pennsylvanian ages in Europe and North America, the two subperiods were long thought to have been more or less equal in duration.[12] In Europe the Lower Carboniferous
Carboniferous
sub-system is known as the Dinantian, comprising the Tournaisian and Visean Series, dated at 362.5-332.9 Ma, and the Upper Carboniferous
Carboniferous
sub-system is known as the Silesian, comprising the Namurian, Westphalian, and Stephanian Series, dated at 332.9-298.9 Ma. The Silesian is roughly contemporaneous with the late Mississippian Serpukhovian plus the Pennsylvanian. In Britain the Dinantian is traditionally known as the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Limestone, the Namurian as the Millstone Grit, and the Westphalian as the Coal
Coal
Measures and Pennant Sandstone. The faunal stages from youngest to oldest, together with some of their subdivisions, are: Late Pennsylvanian: Gzhelian (most recent)

Noginskian / Virgilian (part)

Late Pennsylvanian: Kasimovian

Klazminskian Dorogomilovksian / Virgilian (part) Chamovnicheskian / Cantabrian / Missourian Krevyakinskian / Cantabrian / Missourian

Middle Pennsylvanian: Moscovian

Myachkovskian / Bolsovian / Desmoinesian Podolskian / Desmoinesian Kashirskian / Atokan Vereiskian / Bolsovian / Atokan

Early Pennsylvanian: Bashkirian / Morrowan

Melekesskian / Duckmantian Cheremshanskian / Langsettian Yeadonian Marsdenian Kinderscoutian

Late Mississippian: Serpukhovian

Alportian Chokierian / Chesterian / Elvirian Arnsbergian / Elvirian Pendleian

Middle Mississippian: Visean

Brigantian / St Genevieve / Gasperian / Chesterian Asbian / Meramecian Holkerian / Salem Arundian / Warsaw / Meramecian Chadian / Keokuk / Osagean (part) / Osage (part)

Early Mississippian: Tournaisian (oldest)

Ivorian / (part) / Osage (part) Hastarian / Kinderhookian / Chouteau

Palaeogeography[edit] A global drop in sea level at the end of the Devonian
Devonian
reversed early in the Carboniferous; this created the widespread inland seas and the carbonate deposition of the Mississippian.[13] There was also a drop in south polar temperatures; southern Gondwanaland was glaciated throughout the period, though it is uncertain if the ice sheets were a holdover from the Devonian
Devonian
or not.[13] These conditions apparently had little effect in the deep tropics, where lush swamps, later to become coal, flourished to within 30 degrees of the northernmost glaciers.[13]

Generalized geographic map of the United States
United States
in Middle Pennsylvanian time.

Mid-Carboniferous, a drop in sea level precipitated a major marine extinction, one that hit crinoids and ammonites especially hard.[13] This sea level drop and the associated unconformity in North America separate the Mississippian subperiod from the Pennsylvanian subperiod.[13] This happened about 323 million years ago, at the onset of the Permo-Carboniferous Glaciation.[citation needed] The Carboniferous
Carboniferous
was a time of active mountain-building, as the supercontinent Pangaea
Pangaea
came together. The southern continents remained tied together in the supercontinent Gondwana, which collided with North America–Europe (Laurussia) along the present line of eastern North America. This continental collision resulted in the Hercynian orogeny in Europe, and the Alleghenian orogeny
Alleghenian orogeny
in North America; it also extended the newly uplifted Appalachians southwestward as the Ouachita Mountains.[13] In the same time frame, much of present eastern Eurasian plate
Eurasian plate
welded itself to Europe along the line of the Ural Mountains. Most of the Mesozoic
Mesozoic
supercontinent of Pangea was now assembled, although North China (which would collide in the Latest Carboniferous), and South China continents were still separated from Laurasia. The Late Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Pangaea
Pangaea
was shaped like an "O." There were two major oceans in the Carboniferous— Panthalassa
Panthalassa
and Paleo-Tethys, which was inside the "O" in the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Pangaea. Other minor oceans were shrinking and eventually closed - Rheic Ocean (closed by the assembly of South and North America), the small, shallow Ural Ocean (which was closed by the collision of Baltica
Baltica
and Siberia continents, creating the Ural Mountains) and Proto-Tethys Ocean (closed by North China collision with Siberia/Kazakhstania). Climate[edit] Average global temperatures in the Early Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Period were high: approximately 20 °C (68 °F). However, cooling during the Middle Carboniferous
Carboniferous
reduced average global temperatures to about 12 °C (54 °F). Lack of growth rings of fossilized trees suggest a lack of seasons of a tropical climate. Glaciations in Gondwana, triggered by Gondwana's southward movement, continued into the Permian
Permian
and because of the lack of clear markers and breaks, the deposits of this glacial period are often referred to as Permo-Carboniferous in age. The thicker atmosphere and stronger coriolis effect due to Earth's faster rotation (a day lasted for 22.4 hours in early Carboniferous) created significantly stronger winds than today.[14] The cooling and drying of the climate led to the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse (CRC) during the late Carboniferous. Tropical rainforests fragmented and then were eventually devastated by climate change.[11][15] Rocks and coal[edit]

Lower Carboniferous
Carboniferous
marble in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Wasatch Mountains, Utah.

Carboniferous
Carboniferous
rocks in Europe and eastern North America
North America
largely consist of a repeated sequence of limestone, sandstone, shale and coal beds.[16] In North America, the early Carboniferous
Carboniferous
is largely marine limestone, which accounts for the division of the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
into two periods in North American schemes. The Carboniferous
Carboniferous
coal beds provided much of the fuel for power generation during the Industrial Revolution and are still of great economic importance. The large coal deposits of the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
may owe their existence primarily to two factors. The first of these is the appearance of wood tissue and bark-bearing trees. The evolution of the wood fiber lignin and the bark-sealing, waxy substance suberin variously opposed decay organisms so effectively that dead materials accumulated long enough to fossilise on a large scale. The second factor was the lower sea levels that occurred during the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
as compared to the preceding Devonian
Devonian
period. This promoted the development of extensive lowland swamps and forests in North America
North America
and Europe. Based on a genetic analysis of mushroom fungi, it was proposed that large quantities of wood were buried during this period because animals and decomposing bacteria had not yet evolved enzymes that could effectively digest the resistant phenolic lignin polymers and waxy suberin polymers. They suggest that fungi that could break those substances down effectively only became dominant towards the end of the period, making subsequent coal formation much rarer.[17][18][19] The Carboniferous
Carboniferous
trees made extensive use of lignin. They had bark to wood ratios of 8 to 1, and even as high as 20 to 1. This compares to modern values less than 1 to 4. This bark, which must have been used as support as well as protection, probably had 38% to 58% lignin. Lignin
Lignin
is insoluble, too large to pass through cell walls, too heterogeneous for specific enzymes, and toxic, so that few organisms other than Basidiomycetes
Basidiomycetes
fungi can degrade it. To oxidize it requires an atmosphere of greater than 5% oxygen, or compounds such as peroxides. It can linger in soil for thousands of years and its toxic breakdown products inhibit decay of other substances.[20] One possible reason for its high percentages in plants at that time was to provide protection from insects in a world containing very effective insect herbivores (but nothing remotely as effective as modern insectivores) and probably many fewer protective toxins produced naturally by plants than exist today. As a result, undegraded carbon built up, resulting in the extensive burial of biologically fixed carbon, leading to an increase in oxygen levels in the atmosphere; estimates place the peak oxygen content as high as 35%, as compared to 21% today.[21] This oxygen level may have increased wildfire activity. It also may have promoted gigantism of insects and amphibians — creatures that have been constrained in size by respiratory systems that are limited in their physiological ability to transport and distribute oxygen at the lower atmospheric concentrations that have since been available.[22] In eastern North America, marine beds are more common in the older part of the period than the later part and are almost entirely absent by the late Carboniferous. More diverse geology existed elsewhere, of course. Marine life is especially rich in crinoids and other echinoderms. Brachiopods were abundant. Trilobites became quite uncommon. On land, large and diverse plant populations existed. Land vertebrates included large amphibians. Life[edit] Plants[edit]

Etching depicting some of the most significant plants of the Carboniferous.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1879 American Cyclopædia
American Cyclopædia
article Coal Plants.

Early Carboniferous
Carboniferous
land plants, some of which were preserved in coal balls, were very similar to those of the preceding Late Devonian, but new groups also appeared at this time.

Ancient in situ lycopsid, probably Sigillaria, with attached stigmarian roots.

Base of a lycopsid showing connection with bifurcating stigmarian roots.

The main Early Carboniferous
Carboniferous
plants were the Equisetales (horse-tails), Sphenophyllales
Sphenophyllales
(scrambling plants), Lycopodiales
Lycopodiales
(club mosses), Lepidodendrales
Lepidodendrales
(scale trees), Filicales
Filicales
(ferns), Medullosales
Medullosales
(informally included in the "seed ferns", an artificial assemblage of a number of early gymnosperm groups) and the Cordaitales. These continued to dominate throughout the period, but during late Carboniferous, several other groups, Cycadophyta
Cycadophyta
(cycads), the Callistophytales
Callistophytales
(another group of "seed ferns"), and the Voltziales (related to and sometimes included under the conifers), appeared. The Carboniferous
Carboniferous
lycophytes of the order Lepidodendrales, which are cousins (but not ancestors) of the tiny club-moss of today, were huge trees with trunks 30 meters high and up to 1.5 meters in diameter. These included Lepidodendron
Lepidodendron
(with its cone called Lepidostrobus), Anabathra, Lepidophloios and Sigillaria. The roots of several of these forms are known as Stigmaria. Unlike present-day trees, their secondary growth took place in the cortex, which also provided stability, instead of the xylem.[23] The Cladoxylopsids were large trees, that were ancestors of ferns, first arising in the Carboniferous.[24] The fronds of some Carboniferous
Carboniferous
ferns are almost identical with those of living species. Probably many species were epiphytic. Fossil ferns and "seed ferns" include Pecopteris, Cyclopteris, Neuropteris, Alethopteris, and Sphenopteris; Megaphyton and Caulopteris were tree ferns. The Equisetales included the common giant form Calamites, with a trunk diameter of 30 to 60 cm (24 in) and a height of up to 20 m (66 ft). Sphenophyllum
Sphenophyllum
was a slender climbing plant with whorls of leaves, which was probably related both to the calamites and the lycopods. Cordaites, a tall plant (6 to over 30 meters) with strap-like leaves, was related to the cycads and conifers; the catkin-like reproductive organs, which bore ovules/seeds, is called Cardiocarpus. These plants were thought to live in swamps. True coniferous trees (Walchia, of the order Voltziales) appear later in the Carboniferous, and preferred higher drier ground. Marine invertebrates[edit]

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In the oceans the most important marine invertebrate groups are the Foraminifera, corals, Bryozoa, Ostracoda, brachiopods, ammonoids, hederelloids, microconchids and echinoderms (especially crinoids). For the first time foraminifera take a prominent part in the marine faunas. The large spindle-shaped genus Fusulina and its relatives were abundant in what is now Russia, China, Japan, North America; other important genera include Valvulina, Endothyra, Archaediscus, and Saccammina (the latter common in Britain and Belgium). Some Carboniferous
Carboniferous
genera are still extant. The microscopic shells of radiolarians are found in cherts of this age in the Culm of Devon
Devon
and Cornwall, and in Russia, Germany and elsewhere. Sponges are known from spicules and anchor ropes, and include various forms such as the Calcispongea Cotyliscus and Girtycoelia, the demosponge Chaetetes, and the genus of unusual colonial glass sponges Titusvillia. Both reef-building and solitary corals diversify and flourish; these include both rugose (for example, Caninia, Corwenia, Neozaphrentis), heterocorals, and tabulate (for example, Chladochonus, Michelinia) forms. Conularids
Conularids
were well represented by Conularia Bryozoa
Bryozoa
are abundant in some regions; the fenestellids including Fenestella, Polypora, and Archimedes, so named because it is in the shape of an Archimedean screw. Brachiopods are also abundant; they include productids, some of which (for example, Gigantoproductus) reached very large (for brachiopods) size and had very thick shells, while others like Chonetes were more conservative in form. Athyridids, spiriferids, rhynchonellids, and terebratulids are also very common. Inarticulate forms include Discina and Crania. Some species and genera had a very wide distribution with only minor variations. Annelids such as Serpulites are common fossils in some horizons. Among the mollusca, the bivalves continue to increase in numbers and importance. Typical genera include Aviculopecten, Posidonomya, Nucula, Carbonicola, Edmondia, and Modiola Gastropods are also numerous, including the genera Murchisonia, Euomphalus, Naticopsis. Nautiloid cephalopods are represented by tightly coiled nautilids, with straight-shelled and curved-shelled forms becoming increasingly rare. Goniatite
Goniatite
ammonoids are common. Trilobites are rarer than in previous periods, on a steady trend towards extinction, represented only by the proetid group. Ostracoda, a class of crustaceans, were abundant as representatives of the meiobenthos; genera included Amphissites, Bairdia, Beyrichiopsis, Cavellina, Coryellina, Cribroconcha, Hollinella, Kirkbya, Knoxiella, and Libumella. Amongst the echinoderms, the crinoids were the most numerous. Dense submarine thickets of long-stemmed crinoids appear to have flourished in shallow seas, and their remains were consolidated into thick beds of rock. Prominent genera include Cyathocrinus, Woodocrinus, and Actinocrinus. Echinoids such as Archaeocidaris
Archaeocidaris
and Palaeechinus were also present. The blastoids, which included the Pentreinitidae and Codasteridae and superficially resembled crinoids in the possession of long stalks attached to the seabed, attain their maximum development at this time.

Aviculopecten
Aviculopecten
subcardiformis; a bivalve from the Logan Formation (Lower Carboniferous) of Wooster, Ohio
Wooster, Ohio
(external mold).

Bivalves (Aviculopecten) and brachiopods (Syringothyris) in the Logan Formation (Lower Carboniferous) in Wooster, Ohio.

Syringothyris sp.; a spiriferid brachiopod from the Logan Formation (Lower Carboniferous) of Wooster, Ohio
Wooster, Ohio
(internal mold).

Palaeophycus ichnosp.; a trace fossil from the Logan Formation
Logan Formation
(Lower Carboniferous) of Wooster, Ohio.

Crinoid
Crinoid
calyx from the Lower Carboniferous
Carboniferous
of Ohio with a conical platyceratid gastropod (Palaeocapulus acutirostre) attached.

Conulariid from the Lower Carboniferous
Carboniferous
of Indiana.

Tabulate coral (a syringoporid); Boone Limestone
Limestone
(Lower Carboniferous) near Hiwasse, Arkansas.

Freshwater and lagoonal invertebrates[edit] Freshwater Carboniferous
Carboniferous
invertebrates include various bivalve molluscs that lived in brackish or fresh water, such as Anthraconaia, Naiadites, and Carbonicola; diverse crustaceans such as Candona, Carbonita, Darwinula, Estheria, Acanthocaris, Dithyrocaris, and Anthrapalaemon.

The upper Carboniferous
Carboniferous
giant spider-like eurypterid Megarachne
Megarachne
grew to legspans of 50 cm (20 in).

The Eurypterids were also diverse, and are represented by such genera as Anthraconectes, Megarachne
Megarachne
(originally misinterpreted as a giant spider, hence its name) and the specialised very large Hibbertopterus. Many of these were amphibious. Frequently a temporary return of marine conditions resulted in marine or brackish water genera such as Lingula, Orbiculoidea, and Productus being found in the thin beds known as marine bands. Terrestrial invertebrates[edit] Fossil remains of air-breathing insects,[25] myriapods and arachnids[26] are known from the late Carboniferous, but so far not from the early Carboniferous.[9] The first true priapulids appeared during this period. Their diversity when they do appear, however, shows that these arthropods were both well developed and numerous. Their large size can be attributed to the moistness of the environment (mostly swampy fern forests) and the fact that the oxygen concentration in the Earth's atmosphere in the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
was much higher than today.[27] This required less effort for respiration and allowed arthropods to grow larger with the up to 2.6-meter-long (8.5 ft) millipede-like Arthropleura
Arthropleura
being the largest-known land invertebrate of all time. Among the insect groups are the huge predatory Protodonata
Protodonata
(griffinflies), among which was Meganeura, a giant dragonfly-like insect and with a wingspan of ca. 75 cm (30 in)—the largest flying insect ever to roam the planet. Further groups are the Syntonopterodea (relatives of present-day mayflies), the abundant and often large sap-sucking Palaeodictyopteroidea, the diverse herbivorous Protorthoptera, and numerous basal Dictyoptera
Dictyoptera
(ancestors of cockroaches).[25] Many insects have been obtained from the coalfields of Saarbrücken
Saarbrücken
and Commentry, and from the hollow trunks of fossil trees in Nova Scotia. Some British coalfields have yielded good specimens: Archaeoptitus, from the Derbyshire coalfield, had a spread of wing extending to more than 35 cm (14 in); some specimens (Brodia) still exhibit traces of brilliant wing colors. In the Nova Scotian tree trunks land snails (Archaeozonites, Dendropupa) have been found.

The late Carboniferous
Carboniferous
giant dragonfly-like insect Meganeura
Meganeura
grew to wingspans of 75 cm (30 in).

The gigantic Pulmonoscorpius
Pulmonoscorpius
from the early Carboniferous
Carboniferous
reached a length of up to 70 cm (28 in).

Fish[edit] Many fish inhabited the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
seas; predominantly Elasmobranchs (sharks and their relatives). These included some, like Psammodus, with crushing pavement-like teeth adapted for grinding the shells of brachiopods, crustaceans, and other marine organisms. Other sharks had piercing teeth, such as the Symmoriida; some, the petalodonts, had peculiar cycloid cutting teeth. Most of the sharks were marine, but the Xenacanthida
Xenacanthida
invaded fresh waters of the coal swamps. Among the bony fish, the Palaeonisciformes
Palaeonisciformes
found in coastal waters also appear to have migrated to rivers. Sarcopterygian fish were also prominent, and one group, the Rhizodonts, reached very large size. Most species of Carboniferous
Carboniferous
marine fish have been described largely from teeth, fin spines and dermal ossicles, with smaller freshwater fish preserved whole. Freshwater fish were abundant, and include the genera Ctenodus, Uronemus, Acanthodes, Cheirodus, and Gyracanthus. Sharks (especially the Stethacanthids) underwent a major evolutionary radiation during the Carboniferous.[28] It is believed that this evolutionary radiation occurred because the decline of the placoderms at the end of the Devonian
Devonian
period caused many environmental niches to become unoccupied and allowed new organisms to evolve and fill these niches.[28] As a result of the evolutionary radiation Carboniferous sharks assumed a wide variety of bizarre shapes including Stethacanthus
Stethacanthus
which possessed a flat brush-like dorsal fin with a patch of denticles on its top.[28] Stethacanthus's unusual fin may have been used in mating rituals.[28]

Akmonistion
Akmonistion
of the shark order Symmoriida
Symmoriida
roamed the oceans of the early Carboniferous.

Falcatus
Falcatus
was a Carboniferous
Carboniferous
shark, with a high degree of sexual dimorphism.

Tetrapods[edit] Carboniferous
Carboniferous
amphibians were diverse and common by the middle of the period, more so than they are today; some were as long as 6 meters, and those fully terrestrial as adults had scaly skin.[29] They included a number of basal tetrapod groups classified in early books under the Labyrinthodontia. These had long bodies, a head covered with bony plates and generally weak or undeveloped limbs. The largest were over 2 meters long. They were accompanied by an assemblage of smaller amphibians included under the Lepospondyli, often only about 15 cm (6 in) long. Some Carboniferous
Carboniferous
amphibians were aquatic and lived in rivers (Loxomma, Eogyrinus, Proterogyrinus); others may have been semi-aquatic (Ophiderpeton, Amphibamus, Hyloplesion) or terrestrial (Dendrerpeton, Tuditanus, Anthracosaurus). The Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse
Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse
slowed the evolution of amphibians who could not survive as well in the cooler, drier conditions. Reptiles, however, prospered due to specific key adaptations.[11] One of the greatest evolutionary innovations of the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
was the amniote egg, which allowed the laying of eggs in a dry environment, allowing for the further exploitation of the land by certain tetrapods. These included the earliest sauropsid reptiles (Hylonomus), and the earliest known synapsid (Archaeothyris). These small lizard-like animals quickly gave rise to many descendants, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Reptiles underwent a major evolutionary radiation in response to the drier climate that preceded the rainforest collapse.[11][30] By the end of the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
period, amniotes had already diversified into a number of groups, including protorothyridids, captorhinids, araeoscelids, and several families of pelycosaurs.

The amphibian-like Pederpes, the most primitive Mississippian tetrapod

Hylonomus, the earliest sauropsid reptile, appeared in the Pennsylvanian.

Petrolacosaurus, the first diapsid reptile known, lived during the late Carboniferous.

Archaeothyris
Archaeothyris
was a very early synapsid and the oldest known.

Fungi[edit] Because plants and animals were growing in size and abundance in this time (for example, Lepidodendron), land fungi diversified further. Marine fungi still occupied the oceans. All modern classes of fungi were present in the Late Carboniferous
Carboniferous
(Pennsylvanian Epoch).[31]

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Extinction events[edit] Romer's gap[edit] Main article: Romer's gap The first 15 million years of the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
had very limited terrestrial fossils. This gap in the fossil record is called Romer's gap after the American palaentologist Alfred Romer. While it has long been debated whether the gap is a result of fossilisation or relates to an actual event, recent work indicates the gap period saw a drop in atmospheric oxygen levels, indicating some sort of ecological collapse.[32] The gap saw the demise of the Devonian
Devonian
fish-like ichthyostegalian labyrinthodonts, and the rise of the more advanced temnospondyl and reptiliomorphan amphibians that so typify the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
terrestrial vertebrate fauna. Carboniferous
Carboniferous
rainforest collapse[edit] Main article: Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Rainforest Collapse Before the end of the Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Period, an extinction event occurred. On land this event is referred to as the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse (CRC).[11] Vast tropical rainforests collapsed suddenly as the climate changed from hot and humid to cool and arid. This was likely caused by intense glaciation and a drop in sea levels.[33] The new climatic conditions were not favorable to the growth of rainforest and the animals within them. Rainforests shrank into isolated islands, surrounded by seasonally dry habitats. Towering lycopsid forests with a heterogeneous mixture of vegetation were replaced by much less diverse tree-fern dominated flora. Amphibians, the dominant vertebrates at the time, fared poorly through this event with large losses in biodiversity; reptiles continued to diversify due to key adaptations that let them survive in the drier habitat, specifically the hard-shelled egg and scales, both of which retain water better than their amphibian counterparts.[11] See also[edit]

Carboniferous
Carboniferous
tetrapods Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Rainforest Collapse Important Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Lagerstätten

East Kirkton Quarry; c. 350 mya; Bathgate, Scotland Hamilton Quarry; 320 mya; Kansas, US Mazon Creek; 300 mya; Illinois, US

List of fossil sites
List of fossil sites
(with link directory)

References[edit]

^ Image:Sauerstoffgehalt-1000mj.svg ^ File:OxygenLevel-1000ma.svg ^ Image: Phanerozoic
Phanerozoic
Carbon
Carbon
Dioxide.png ^ Image:All palaeotemps.png ^ Haq, B. U.; Schutter, SR (2008). "A Chronology of Paleozoic Sea-Level Changes". Science. 322 (5898): 64–68. Bibcode:2008Sci...322...64H. doi:10.1126/science.1161648. PMID 18832639.  ^ Rev. W. D. Conybeare and William Phillips, Outlines of the Geology of England and Wales ..., Part I, (London, England: William Phillips, 1822). On page 323, Conybeare titles the chapter "Book III. Medial or Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Order." ^ Cossey, P.J. et al. (2004) British Lower Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Stratigraphy, Geological Conservation Review Series, no 29, JNCC, Peterborough (p3) ^ "The Carboniferous
Carboniferous
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Carboniferous
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Sources[edit]

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Paleozoic
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of Aerial Locomotor Performance". Journal of Experimental Biology. 201: 1043–1050.  Menning, M.; Alekseev, A.S.; Chuvashov, B.I.; Davydov, V.I.; Devuyst, F.-X.; Forke, H.C.; Grunt, T.A.; Hance, L.; Heckel, P.H.; Izokh, N.G.; Jin, Y.-G.; Jones, P.J.; Kotlyar, G.V.; Kozur, H.W.; Nemyrovska, T.I.; Schneider, J.W.; Wang, X.-D.; Weddige, K.; Weyer, D. & Work, D.M. (2006). "Global time scale and regional stratigraphic reference scales of Central and West Europe, East Europe, Tethys, South China, and North America
North America
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 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Carboniferous System". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.  External links[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original works on the topic: Paleozoic#Carboniferous

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carboniferous.

"Geologic Time Scale 2004". International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved January 15, 2013.  Examples of Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Fossils 60+ images of Carboniferous
Carboniferous
Foraminifera

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Geologic history of Earth

Cenozoic
Cenozoic
era¹ (present–66.0 Mya)

Quaternary
Quaternary
(present–2.588 Mya)

Holocene
Holocene
(present–11.784 kya) Pleistocene
Pleistocene
(11.784 kya–2.588 Mya)

Neogene
Neogene
(2.588–23.03 Mya)

Pliocene
Pliocene
(2.588–5.333 Mya) Miocene
Miocene
(5.333–23.03 Mya)

Paleogene (23.03–66.0 Mya)

Oligocene
Oligocene
(23.03–33.9 Mya) Eocene
Eocene
(33.9–56.0 Mya) Paleocene
Paleocene
(56.0–66.0 Mya)

Mesozoic
Mesozoic
era¹ (66.0–251.902 Mya)

Cretaceous
Cretaceous
(66.0–145.0 Mya)

Late (66.0–100.5 Mya) Early (100.5–145.0 Mya)

Jurassic
Jurassic
(145.0–201.3 Mya)

Late (145.0–163.5 Mya) Middle (163.5–174.1 Mya) Early (174.1–201.3 Mya)

Triassic
Triassic
(201.3–251.902 Mya)

Late (201.3–237 Mya) Middle (237–247.2 Mya) Early (247.2–251.902 Mya)

Paleozoic
Paleozoic
era¹ (251.902–541.0 Mya)

Permian
Permian
(251.902–298.9 Mya)

Lopingian
Lopingian
(251.902–259.8 Mya) Guadalupian
Guadalupian
(259.8–272.3 Mya) Cisuralian
Cisuralian
(272.3–298.9 Mya)

Carboniferous
Carboniferous
(298.9–358.9 Mya)

Pennsylvanian (298.9–323.2 Mya) Mississippian (323.2–358.9 Mya)

Devonian
Devonian
(358.9–419.2 Mya)

Late (358.9–382.7 Mya) Middle (382.7–393.3 Mya) Early (393.3–419.2 Mya)

Silurian
Silurian
(419.2–443.8 Mya)

Pridoli (419.2–423.0 Mya) Ludlow (423.0–427.4 Mya) Wenlock (427.4–433.4 Mya) Llandovery (433.4–443.8 Mya)

Ordovician
Ordovician
(443.8–485.4 Mya)

Late (443.8–458.4 Mya) Middle (458.4–470.0 Mya) Early (470.0–485.4 Mya)

Cambrian
Cambrian
(485.4–541.0 Mya)

Furongian (485.4–497 Mya) Series 3 (497–509 Mya) Series 2 (509–521 Mya) Terreneuvian
Terreneuvian
(521–541.0 Mya)

Proterozoic
Proterozoic
eon² (541.0 Mya–2.5 Gya)

Neoproterozoic era (541.0 Mya–1 Gya)

Ediacaran
Ediacaran
(541.0-~635 Mya) Cryogenian (~635-~720 Mya) Tonian (~720 Mya-1 Gya)

Mesoproterozoic era (1–1.6 Gya)

Stenian (1-1.2 Gya) Ectasian (1.2-1.4 Gya) Calymmian (1.4-1.6 Gya)

Paleoproterozoic era (1.6–2.5 Gya)

Statherian (1.6-1.8 Gya) Orosirian
Orosirian
(1.8-2.05 Gya) Rhyacian (2.05-2.3 Gya) Siderian
Siderian
(2.3-2.5 Gya)

Archean
Archean
eon² (2.5–4 Gya)

Eras

Neoarchean (2.5–2.8 Gya) Mesoarchean (2.8–3.2 Gya) Paleoarchean
Paleoarchean
(3.2–3.6 Gya) Eoarchean
Eoarchean
(3.6–4 Gya)

Hadean
Hadean
eon² (4–4.6 Gya)

 

 

kya = thousands years ago. Mya = millions years ago. Gya = billions years ago.¹ = Phanerozoic
Phanerozoic
eon. ² = Precambrian
Precambrian
supereon. Source: (2017/02). International Commission on Stratigraphy. Retrieved 13 July 2015. Divisions of Geologic Time—Major Chronostratigraphic and Geochronologic Units USGS Retrieved 10 March 2013.

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