Evolution of Earth Flashcards

Evolution of Earth Flashcards
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Evolution
An important concept in biology that describes how organisms change over time
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Mass Extinction
An event occurring between eons or eras that kills off a great amount of living organisms
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Carbon-14
The most common element used in radioactive dating of rocks and fossils
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Cenozoic Era

Started after the mass extinction of dinosaurs

Mammals, birds, and insects became more diverse

Humans developed in this time period

Current era

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Mesozoic Era

Also called the 'age of the dinosaurs'

Plant life was mostly limited to gymnosperms, which are flowerless

Ended 66 million years ago with a mass extinction of the dinosaurs

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Cambrian Explosion

Occurred during the Paleozoic Era

Characterized by an enormous increase in organism population and diversity

Included life moving from water to land

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Paleozoic Era

Included the Cambrian explosion

Reptiles, insects, and more varieties of advanced plant life appeared

Era ended with many land and water organisms becoming extinct

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14 cards in set

Flashcard Content Overview

The formation of Earth happened approximately 4.6 billion years ago, but humans didn't evolve until a couple hundred thousand years ago. What happened between those two events? What types of organisms were present, and where did they go if they are no longer here? More importantly, how do we know these things? This flashcard set will help you review the evolution of life on Earth. It will review the different organisms that existed during the many eras our Earth has gone through and the ways scientists are able to discern when and how important evolutionary events occurred.

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Paleozoic Era

Included the Cambrian explosion

Reptiles, insects, and more varieties of advanced plant life appeared

Era ended with many land and water organisms becoming extinct

Cambrian Explosion

Occurred during the Paleozoic Era

Characterized by an enormous increase in organism population and diversity

Included life moving from water to land

Mesozoic Era

Also called the 'age of the dinosaurs'

Plant life was mostly limited to gymnosperms, which are flowerless

Ended 66 million years ago with a mass extinction of the dinosaurs

Cenozoic Era

Started after the mass extinction of dinosaurs

Mammals, birds, and insects became more diverse

Humans developed in this time period

Current era

Carbon-14
The most common element used in radioactive dating of rocks and fossils
Mass Extinction
An event occurring between eons or eras that kills off a great amount of living organisms
Evolution
An important concept in biology that describes how organisms change over time
Catastrophism

A theory proposed by George Cuvier that describes evolution as a process following local catastrophic events like floods or fires

Events would lead to extinction or adaptation

Gradualism

A theory proposed by James Hutton that describes evolution as a long, gradual, continuous process occurring over time

Adaptations in organisms appear slowly over many generations

Status

In the context of evolution, it describes organisms as staying the same.

Occurs when organisms are a good fit for their environment

Adaptation
In the context of evolution, it describes organisms as changing.
Punctuated Equilibrium
A theory that states that life on Earth evolved with periods of brief and abrupt changes followed by long periods of stability.
Adaptive Radiation

A theory that states that organisms that share a common ancestor evolved when they 'radiated' (moved) away from one area and adapted to another

Example: finches found on Galapagos Islands

Precambrian Era

Started when Earth was formed

Production of oxygen by single-celled organisms allowed for evolution of more complex, multicellular organisms such as jellyfish and worms

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