Nature | Earths History

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The diversity of marine animal families since late Precambrian time. The data for the curve comprise only those families that are reliably preserved in the fossil record; the 1,900 value for living families also includes those families rarely preserved as fossils.  The several pronounced dips in the curve correspond to major mass-extinction events. The most catastrophic extinction took place at the end of the Permian Period.

A Journey Through Time Since the Precambrian

Distribution of landmasses, mountainous regions, shallow seas, and deep ocean basins during the late Cambrian Period. Included in the paleogeographic reconstruction are the locations of the interval’s subduction zones.

Distribution of landmasses, mountainous regions, shallow seas, and deep ocean basins during the late Cambrian Period. Included in the paleogeographic reconstruction are the locations of the interval’s subduction zones.

Distribution of landmasses, mountainous regions, shallow seas, and deep ocean basins during Early Devonian time. Included in the paleogeographic reconstruction are cold and warm ocean currents. The present-day coastlines and tectonic boundaries of the configured continents are shown in the inset at the lower right.

Distribution of landmasses, mountainous regions, shallow seas, and deep ocean basins during Early Devonian time. Included in the paleogeographic reconstruction are cold and warm ocean currents. The present-day coastlines and tectonic boundaries of the configured continents are shown in the inset at the lower right.

Distribution of landmasses, mountainous regions, shallow seas, and deep ocean basins during the Early Permian Epoch. Included in the paleogeographic reconstruction are cold and warm ocean currents. The present-day coastlines and tectonic boundaries of the configured continents are shown in the inset.

Distribution of landmasses, mountainous regions, shallow seas, and deep ocean basins during the Early Permian Epoch. Included in the paleogeographic reconstruction are cold and warm ocean currents. The present-day coastlines and tectonic boundaries of the configured continents are shown in the inset.

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The Precambrian was the first period of time. Geologic history is ongoing- it has not ended! How to read the Geologic time scale- Era's (The longest division) are marked by striking and world.

Paleogeography and paleoceanography of Late Jurassic time. Present-day coastlines and tectonic boundaries of continents are shown in the inset at the lower right.

Paleogeography and paleoceanography of Late Jurassic time. Present-day coastlines and tectonic boundaries of continents are shown in the inset at the lower right.

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