Scientific Creation Story Part 4 Age or Reptiles
About the scientific story of creation, explanation of science for the origins of the universe and the world.
The Ordovician period was followed by the Silurian period, in which invertebrates were highly developed, jawless fishes were abundant, and jawed fishes began to appear. The next period, the Devonian, which began some 330 million years ago, was the Age of Fishes. All classes of fishes flourished, including an early bony fish called Cheirolepis. This new jawed fish was the earliest creature on earth to exhibit lungs.
The Mississippian period, begun about 280 million years ago, saw the great move of animals out of the water and into the swamps. At this time the climate was warm and moist and the lowland on the continents had grown up in lush vegetation with giant clubmosses and ferns up to 60' tall. Dying plants decayed in the swamps, and peat, which later turned to coal, was being produced.
Scorpions, spiders, and insects had made their way to the swamps. Soon after, lobe-finned fishes developed a means of living on land. Their stalked fins developing into legs with toes, their lungs strengthening, and their unpaired fins disappearing, the lobe-finned fishes had become the world's 1st amphibians, well adapted to land life.
The amphibians continued to evolve through the Pennsylvanian period, along with the dominant giant clubmosses. At the end of this period, a new form emerged. Swamps were drying up, and survival depended upon thicker skin, better lungs, and stronger legs. These advantages were given to the 1st of earth's reptiles.
The Paleozoic era ended with the Permian period, which began 230 million years ago. With the uplift of mountains, variable climates arose--from hot, dry deserts to cold, barren regions. In the milder, moist regions, amphibians continued, but in other areas, the reptiles dominated. They had conquered the dry land, pushed into every possible new environment under the pressure of their growing population. In the Permian period, thousands of new reptile species evolved.
The Age of Reptiles began a new era 200 million years ago: the Mesozoic era. The mountains, reduced by rivers and glaciers, washed into the seas. The earth's climate was uniformly warm and tropical. The Triassic period, which began the era, saw the height of reptile dominance. It was at the end of this period that the reptile's successor made his 1st appearance. With a change in the skull, which provided more room for chewing and for better teeth, and with an improvement in the limbs to allow them to swing back and forth underneath the body, a few reptiles were beginning to take the 1st steps toward the evolution of the mammal.
The 1st mammals did appear, few in number and primitive in form, in the Jurassic period. They were warm-blooded, had a diaphragm, a coat of hair, and suckled their young. At this time, too, the 1st birds appeared.
The last period of the Mesozoic era, the Cretaceous period, began with the continued dominance of highly specialized reptiles, but ended with their mass extinction. Mountain-building created such a drastic change in climate, from warm to cold, that most reptiles simply perished. But the various reptiles-turned-mammal survived. They were of 2 types, the marsupials and the placental mammals. The latter, a line of insectivores which had developed a uterus and a placenta and an umbilical cord connecting the mother to the embryo, gave rise to all the living placental mammals in the world.
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