The Silurian (443 to 417 million years ago) was a time when the Earth underwent considerable changes that had important repercussions for the environment and life within it. The Silurian witnessed a relative stabilization of the earth's general climate, ending the previous pattern of erratic climatic fluctuations. One result of these changes was the melting of large glacial formations. This contributed to a substantial rise in the levels of the major seas.
Coral reefs made their first appearance during this time, and the Silurian was also a remarkable time in the evolution of fishes. Not only does this time period mark the wide and rapid spread of jawless fish, but also the highly significant appearances of both the first known freshwater fish as well as the first fish with jaws. It is also at this time that our first good evidence of life on land is preserved, including relatives of spiders and centipedes, and also the earliest fossils of vascular plants.
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The chart at left shows the major subdivisions of the Silurian Period. This chart is mapped, to allow you to travel back to the Ordovician or forward to the Devonian.
The Silurian Period is part of the Paleozoic Era.
For additional Silurian pages, try these sites :