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Life in the Palaeozoic

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Fossils are a glimpse into the distant past and fascinate young and old alike. This free course, Life in the Palaeozoic, will introduce you to the explosion of evolution that took place during the Palaeozoic era. You will look at the many different types of creatures that existed at that time and how they managed to evolve to exist on land.

After studying this unit you should be able to:

  • describe some key events in the evolution of life during the Palaeozoic Era, such as the first appearance of major groups of invertebrates and vertebrates, and the invasion of the land;
  • identify some common types of fossil organisms that were living in Palaeozoic seas, and comment on their likely environment and geological age;
  • make inferences from fossils about the biology and mode of life of some Palaeozoic organisms.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 12 hours
  • Updated Thursday 11th October 2012
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Natural History
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Life in the Palaeozoic

Introduction

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The Palaeozoic Era was a very important time in the history of life. Using evidence from fossils, we start by looking at the Cambrian explosion, when many forms of animal life first appeared about 545 million years ago. Then we move on to study creatures living in the Ordovician seas, including the extinct trilobites. Next, we'll investigate the invasion of land by plants and invertebrates that occurred in the Silurian Period, and look at life in Silurian seas. You'll also learn about the Devonian Period, when vertebrates first moved onto land. The unit finishes with a brief outline of vertebrate evolution.

This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Fossils and the history of life (S193) which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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