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 310 million years ago

Mean atmospheric O2
 163% of modern level

Mean atmospheric CO2
 3x pre-industrial level

Mean temperature
 Same as modern level


Paleozoic Earth - A Carboniferous Arthropleura amidst seed ferns from the genus Neuropteris; millipedes; roachoids - Natural History Illustration

Geologic Time Scale

 Era: Paleozoic
  Period: Carboniferous*
   Epoch: Early
    Age: Bashkirian


Arthropleura amidst Neuropteris

A four-foot-long arthropod from the genus Arthropleura crawls amidst seed ferns from the genus Neuropteris in a Carboniferous forest 310 million years ago in what is today Scotland. A relative of centipedes and millipedes, and growing up to 8 feet long and 18 inches wide, Arthropleura was the largest known terrestrial arthropod of all time. A combination of a higher percentage of atmospheric oxygen and relatively few terrestrial predators may have enabled Arthropleura to evolve to such an enormous size. Despite its fierce appearance, Arthropleura is currently believed to have been an herbivore.

In the shadows on the upper right are "roachoids," primitive ancestors of modern cockroaches..

*AKA Carboniferous/ Pennsylvanian


Copyright Walter B. Myers. All rights reserved.

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