What is Carboniferous Period? Carboniferous Period Plants & Animals
What is Carboniferous Period?
The Carboniferous period is a geologic time period that occurred approximately 359-299 million years ago. The name Carboniferous is derived from the Latin words “carbonarius” meaning “of coal” and “ferre” meaning “to bear.”
Facts about the Carboniferous Period
The Carboniferous period is so named because of the large coal deposits that were formed during this time. The period was also marked by the evolution of many new species of plants and animals.
The Carboniferous period is characterized by an increase in the level of atmospheric oxygen and the appearance of many new species of plants and animals.
It was preceded by the Devonian period, and followed by the Permian period. The Carboniferous is named after the numerous coal deposits found in rocks of this age.
During the Carboniferous, the continents were arranged in a series of supercontinent cycles.
The rise in oxygen levels allowed for the evolution of larger, more complex life forms, such as amphibians and arthropods. The period also saw the development of coal deposits, which are a major source of energy today.
The Carboniferous period is an era in Earth’s history that spanned from 359 to 299.0 million years ago from the end of the Devonian period to the beginning of the Permian period.
It is named after the extensive coal deposits that were laid down during this time. The Carboniferous period was a time of great change, with the appearance of the first trees and the development of new fish and amphibian species.
The Carboniferous Period is the fifth of the Paleozoic Era, coming after the Devonian and preceding the Permian. The Carboniferous Period began around 358.9 million years ago and concluded roughly 298.9 million years ago in absolute time. With a timeframe of around 60 million years, it is the Paleozoic Era’s longest epoch and the Phanerozoic Eon’s second longest.
The Carboniferous System is made up of rocks that were produced or deposited during this time period. The term Carboniferous refers to the coal-bearing strata that define the series’ top section worldwide.
The Carboniferous period is bracketed between two other periods: the Devonian period and the Permian period.
The period is generally split into two subperiods—the Mississippian (358.9 to 323.2 million years ago) and the Pennsylvanian (323.2 to 298.9 million years ago)—with their rocks acknowledged chronologically as subsystems by international agreement.
The Carboniferous Period is separated into the Dinantian and subsequent Silesian subsystems in Europe, however the line between those divisions is below the globally acknowledged Mississippian-Pennsylvanian barrier.
Plate movements had brought the majority of Laurussia into touch with Gondwana and closed the Tethys by the Late Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) period. Laurussia and Gondwana were merged during the Appalachian-Hercynian orogeny (mountain-building event) that lasted until the Permian Period.
The region that would become the eastern United States and northern Europe remained tropical, while the China and Siberia cratons remained in the Northern Hemisphere’s high latitudes.
Carboniferous Period Climate
The Carboniferous is often considered “the golden age of terrestrial fauna.” The primary fauna was dominated by the ichnofossils, a rich record of the plants and animals that inhabited the time period.
By the beginning of the Carboniferous Period, plants began to establish an extensive global distribution that would eventually lead to their dominance in the Mesozoic Era.
The first modern trees evolved in the Carboniferous Period. A major factor in the development of forests was the appearance of bark.
Before the Carboniferous Period, trunks and branches were naked to sustain vascular supply, but the growth of true bark allowed trees to become larger and more diverse.
The Carboniferous Period was a time of active mountain-building, as the supercontinent Pangaea came together.
The southern continents remained tied together in Gondwana, where the full force of plate tectonics was experienced. There were active volcanic eruptions, and the earth’s climate fluctuated from cool and dry to warm and swampy.
The Carboniferous was a time of glaciations—sometimes glacial activity was vigorous, other times not. Several species of early dinosaurs existed during this time period, as did the first large reptiles called crocodilians.
Other important terrestrial vertebrates of this epoch were the lizards and two important classes of amphibians: frogs (order Amphibamis) and salamanders (order Uperoleia). All of these were quite small and primitive compared to modern amphibians.
The dominant forests were mostly gymnosperms, especially the seed ferns (formerly known as “seed plants” in older texts). These are thought to have produced large quantities of oxygen and may have been responsible for an episode of global warming at the end of the Devonian period.
The plants grown by the trees achieved a similar size, and many of the same plant groups are found throughout the world.
This period saw various still-extant groups, notably amphibians, . There were fish with scales, four-legged tetrapods with gills and lungs, and one group of synapsids (a group of mammals that includes “Dinocephalia”, “Sauropsida”, “Mammalia” and “Amniota”), among many other groups.
Carboniferous Period Plants
The Carboniferous period’s plant life was vast and abundant, particularly during the Pennsylvanian. It comprised ferns and fernlike trees; calamites, or enormous horsetails; club mosses, or lycopods, such as Lepidodendron and Sigillaria; seed ferns; and cordaites, or early conifers.
Carboniferous Period Animals
Primitive amphibians, reptiles (which first emerged in the Upper Carboniferous), spiders, millipedes, land snails, scorpions, huge dragonflies, and over 800 species of cockroaches were among the terrestrial creatures. Fishes, clams, and other crustaceans frequented the inland waterways; mollusks, crinoids, sea urchins, and one-celled foraminifera inhabited the seas.
By the Carboniferous Period, terrestrial animal life was firmly established.
Tetrapods which evolved from lobe-finned fish during the preceding Devonian, became pentadactylous and diversified during the Carboniferous, including early amphibian lineages such as temnospondyls.
The Carboniferous also saw the first appearance of amniotes, including synapsids (the group to which modern mammals belong) and reptiles.
The period is occasionally referred to as the Age of Amphibians, during which amphibians became the dominant terrestrial vertebrates and evolved into a variety of forms, including those resembling lizards, snakes, and crocodiles.
Insects would be subjected to extensive radiation in the late Carboniferous. Vast swathes of forest blanketed the country, which would later be laid down and produce the Carboniferous coal deposits visible today.
Glaciations, a low sea level, and mountain formation occurred in the latter half of the era as the continents clashed to form Pangaea. At the conclusion of the era, a small marine and terrestrial extinction event, the Carboniferous rainforest collapse, occurred as a result of climatic change.
Carboniferous Period FAQs
What happened in the carboniferous period?
The Carboniferous Period, which took place approximately 360 to 299 million years ago, is named for the extensive deposits of coal that were formed at that time. The period is marked by significant changes in the Earth’s climate and the appearance of new life-forms.
The climate was warm and humid, with swamps, rivers, and rainforests covering much of the Earth. This period is named for the abundance of coal deposits found in rocks of this age.
How old is the Carboniferous Period?
The Carboniferous Period lasted from 358 to 299 million years ago. It was preceded by the Devonian Period and followed by the Permian Period. The Carboniferous Period is named for the large amounts of coal that were deposited during this time.
The Carboniferous Period lasted from about 60 million years. It is a time period in Earth’s history that is characterized by an increase in coal deposits.
When was the carboniferous period?
The Carboniferous period is an era of Earth’s history that spanned 60 million years from the end of the Devonian period 359 million years ago to the beginning of the Permian period, 299 million years ago.
The name Carboniferous means “coal-bearing” in reference to the extensive coal beds that were laid down during the period.
What plants and animals lived in the carboniferous period?
The Carboniferous period was an era of significant tectonic and climatic change, as the supercontinent Pangaea began to break up and the world’s climate became cooler and drier.
The period is also known for its vast wealth of fossilized plants and animals, including the largest insects that have ever lived.
In the Carboniferous period there were several different types of plants. These plants had important roles in the ecosystem because they were responsible for keeping the atmosphere clear of harmful gases by making oxygen that is capable of dissolving in water. Some plant groups have been extinct ever since the end of that period.
During the Carboniferous period, which occurred between 359 and 299 million years ago, a wide variety of animals lived on Earth.
This era is named for the large amounts of coal that were formed during this time, as a result of the high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Some of the animals that lived during the Carboniferous period include amphibians, reptiles, fish, insects, and plants.
Why were insects so large in the carboniferous period?
Insects were so large in the carboniferous period because the oxygen levels were much higher than they are today.
During the Carboniferous Period, the air contained between 31% and 35% oxygen “based on the key researcher’s findings”. This indicates that the insects’ respiratory systems may be considerably smaller while yet supplying enough oxygen to suit their needs, allowing them to grow much larger.
Why was coal formed during the carboniferous period?
The amount of coal formed during the carboniferous period is due to the high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In fact, the air holding capacity of CO2 was much greater back then than it is today, contributing to increased greenhouse gas effect and warmer global temperatures.
The Carboniferous Period is a time in Earth’s history marked by the dominance of large, amphibious plants and the development of coal swamps. Coal is a sedimentary rock that is composed of carbon and other elements, and it is formed from the remains of these plants.
The high levels of carbon in the plants’ tissues caused the coal to form at an accelerated rate, and these deposits can be found all over the world
When did the coal period occur?
The Carboniferous Period occurred between 360 and 290 million years ago. The period gets its name from the large amount of plant and animal fossils that were found in European coal deposits (12% – 20%).
Which types of plants dominated the coal forests of the carboniferous period?
The coal forests of the carboniferous period were dominated by lycopods and other spore-bearing plants.
These plants were able to thrive in the moist, shady environment of the coal forests, and they produced large quantities of spores that helped to spread their reproductive cells.
Other plants that were common in the coal forests include horsetails, ferns, and club mosses.
Seedless plants such as lycopsids thrived in the swamp woods and were the major source of carbon for the period’s coal.
The lycopods had a mass extinction catastrophe during the Pennsylvanian as a result of a drying trend, most likely driven by increasing glaciation.
Later in the Carboniferous, ferns and sphenopsids gained prominence, and the oldest relatives of conifers emerged.
What makes the carboniferous period unique?
The Carboniferous Period is known for the large deposits of coal that were made during this time. The high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are responsible for the abundance of coal deposits in this period, and it can be found all over the globe.
This period is also unique because it is characterized by a large diversity of plant and animal life. This era was home to many amphibians, insects, ferns, horsetails, and club mosses.
Why is it called carboniferous period?
The Carboniferous Period is called the “coal period” because much of the coal deposits during this time period were formed by plant tissue.
The high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are responsible for the abundance of coal deposits in this period, and it can be found all over the globe.
Why is the carboniferous period called the age of amphibians?
The Carboniferous Period was the “Age of Amphibians” because this is the time when amphibians reached their greatest diversity and abundance.
By the end of this period, amphibians had spread to most parts of the world and were even living in freshwater environments. The first reptiles also appeared in this period, signaling a dramatic change in life on Earth.
Many different types of amphibians evolved during the Carboniferous period, including frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. This was also the time when the first “true” reptiles evolved.
In the Carboniferous (or “coal”) period, which occurred between 359 and 299 million years ago, a wide variety of animals lived on Earth.