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Cambrian Explosion The ages of the Earth

Cambrian Explosion The ages of the Earth

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Trilobites, like the one we see in the image, appeared in the Cambrian and are the most representative way of life in the entire Paleozoic.

The Cambrian period began 540 million years ago. The weather was good and the atmosphere already had high levels of oxygen. Suddenly, 530 million years ago, and for a short period of just 20 or 30 million years, thousands of different life forms populated the oceans. This unprecedented expansion of life is known as a Cambrian explosion. It is the largest and most intense diversification of life forms of all time.

90% of those creatures eventually became extinct. Those who survived are the ancestors of almost all invertebrates and much of today's life, including the chordates, which are the evolutionary line from which we come.

In 1909, paleontologist Charles Walcott discovered the site of Burgess Shale, in the Rockies. Since then, the number and variety of fossils found there have provided much information about the Cambrian explosion.

The explosion of life occurred in warm, shallow waters and near the coast. All life was still underwater. For the first time we find creatures with heads, legs, claws, jaws ... and compound eyes, formed from calcite rock. The appearance of the sense of sight in the Cambrian was a great leap in the evolution of life.

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Album: Photos of the Earth and the Moon Gallery: The ages of the Earth