When was the Silurian Period?
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Silurian Period

Octopus

May 2016 - The beginning of the Silurian period, about 443 million years ago, happened when some environmental problem at the end of the Ordovician period, probably ice ages, killed most of the plants and animals on Earth. The creatures that survived this extinction were the ones that were most able to change quickly to adapt to new conditions, and their ability to change speeded up evolution even more than before. By 428 million years ago, the first tiny branching plant, Cooksonia, developed on land. More and more plants lived on land, slowly evolving to be able to move away from the sea coasts and grow along the edges of lakes and streams.

Cooksonia
Fossil of the extinct early plant
Cooksonia (about 2 cm high)

About 420 million years ago, the big continent of Europe slowly crashed into another continent, the beginnings of North America, pushing big mountain ranges up towards the sky, which then eroded again into the ocean. The Earth had warmed up again since the Ordovician period and was warmer than usual, so there was more water and less ice.

Around the same time, the first tiny fish with jaws appeared, descended from earlier chordates that were more like lampreys. For land animals, there were still just millipedes, spiders and scorpions.

At the end of the Silurian period, about 416 million years ago, a bunch of smaller environmental problems killed off a lot of plants and animals again and started the Devonian period.

Learn by doing: buy a whole trout at the store, cook it, and look at its skeleton
Go on to the Devonian period

Bibliography and further reading about the Silurian period and geology:

List of Geological Eras
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 27 June, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT