Era Period M.Y.B.P.
Millions of years before present
Cenozoic Quaternary 0-1.7 Humans.
Tertiary 1.7-65 Modern bivalves and gastropods appear and radiate. Early mammals.
Mesozoic Cretaceous 65-135 Brachiopods decline. Radiation of insect orders associated with flowering plants. Ended in a mass extinction.
Jurassic 135-192 Brachiopods, corals, and marine bivalves common. South America and Africa separate, and Atlantic Ocean is born.
Triassic 192-230 Increase in diversity of marine invertebrates. First flies and sawflies. First dinosaurs.
Palaeozoic Permian 230-280 Insect diversification on land and in freshwater, first records of beetles. All continents joined together to form a single landmass. Ended with a mass extinction of 90% marine invertebrates, especially those living in shallow waters, all Trilobites became extinct, and 75% of land species became extinct.
Carboniferous 280-345 Insects colonise land. Giant dragonflies. Corals and brachiopods abundant. British climate is equatorial.
Devonian 345-405 The first record of insects, spiders and mites. Bryozoans and corals abundant. Great Glen and Highland boundary faults formed in what is now Scotland. Ended with a mass extinction which appears to have caused the extinction of 70% of animal species.
Silurian 405-430 Bryozoans, corals and brachiopods abundant. First evidence of scorpions. Europe collides with N. America and Greenland.
Ordovician 430-500 Marine invertebrates abundant. Trilobites declining. Spread of molluscs. Armoured fish. Earliest crustaceans. The Ordovician ended in a mass extinction.
Cambrian 500-600 Origin of many invertebrate phyla. Trilobites dominant. Small molluscs. Britian and Europe in the southern hemisphere.
Precambrian 600-4600 Animal fossil evidence rare; evidence of sponges, cnidaria, ctenophora, and worm burrows c. 670-570 MYBP. Anaerobic bacteria about 3800 MYBP.
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