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Welcome to the Palaeos site. Your hosts are Alan Kazlev and Toby White. The site combines the Vertebrate Notes with the earth and biological sciences portions of the Kheper site.  


New and Revised Pages

January 18, 2003: Added Island of Misspelled Words to help with searches Island of Misspelled WordsJanuary 17, 2003: discussion of the vertebrate ear revised to include more on the mechanics of hearing in the lagena January 11, 2003: Squalodontoidea (Vertebrate taxon #1000) added to Cetartiodactyla January 11, 2003: Bivalves added to Invertebrates: Molluscs .  January 10, 2003: Tardigrada added to Invertebrates: Arthropoda January 10, 2003: More basic entries added to Cetartiodactyla January 7, 2003: added Helcionellidae to Invertebrates: Molluscs January 7, 2003: added geography and climate of the Ludlovian Epoch of the Late Silurian January 5, 2003: Additions to Meridiungulata and Notoungulata with essays on leprechauns and weird ears January 3, 2003: Coreospiridae (gastropod ancestors) added to Invertebrates: Molluscs .  


About This Site

The Palaeos Site is dedicated to providing detailed information on the history of life on Earth

The following is a summary of the main topics covered on the Palaeos site: Note that although this is presented in a linear sequence it can just as appropriately be shown in any order, because (excluding the home page) a full understanding of each of the topics depends on each of the others


II. Palaeontology: - What is it? What are fossils? How do we know this stuff


III. Evolution: - A very difficult concept with many different variations

Darwinian Evolution is central to understanding the history of life. A brief introduction and explanation here.
The Geological Timescale

IV. Geochronology : How do we know the age of the Earth?

How do we measure geological time anyway? How do we know the Earth is billions of years old? Answers to those questions here.
Earth Systems

V. Earth Systems:: the non-biotic components of the Earth and Life's interaction with them

An introduction to the various components that make up our globe - geosphere, oceans, atmosphere, biosphere, etc. These provide the backdrop and theatre for the evolutionary drama. And as individual organisms evolve, the Earth as a whole does too

VI. Systematics: Finding the pigeon-holes for pigeons and wormholes for worms

The classification of living organisms. What is the best way to understand how living beings fit together on the great evolutionary tree of life? Both the Phylogenetic Systematics (Cladistic) and the Linnean (and Evolutionary Systematic) paradigms have their own methodologies.
Life on Earth

VII. Life on Earth: - the diversity of life through the ages

The diversity of life is mind-boggling. Millions of species are alive today, and countless millions more have lived in the past. Here we look at the Kingdoms of life, and the history and evolution of Plants, Invertebrates, and Vertebrate Animals, tying them all together in a cladistic phylogenetic-evolutionary "tree of life".

VIII. Ecology: - How does it all work together? Making systems out of systematics

Living beings do not exist in isolation. They are part of a the complex and constantly evolving interaction between plant, animal, microorganism, soil, atmosphere, and elements. Also considered in this heading: evolutionary biota, plant and animal communities, biogeochemical cycles, trophic levels, mass extinctions and evolutionary radiations. And an overview of the Gaia Hypothesis, the theory that all the components that make up the Earth are part of a single homeostatic system.
The Geological Timescale

IX. The Geological Timescale and History of Life on Earth : The Big Picture: Aeons, Eras, Periods and Life's History.

The Earth is billions of years old. That vast span of time is divided into eons, eras, periods, epochs, ages, and chrons. All the eras and periods (and eventually epochs and ages) are to de described, along with the evolving life-forms, continents, and ecosystems of each. For reference there is a giant table providing the names and dates of the various subdivisions.
Megayear Digest

X. The Megayear Digest : - the history of life, in 2 million year increments.

The division into epochs, eras and so on, although useful, is often artificial. While it is true that major divisions coincide with major geological or extinction events, it is also more often the case (especially with periods, epochs etc) that this is not the case. To avoid the arbitrariness of the man-made timescale. we plan here to provide a differently arranged timeline, an overview of the history of the last 570 million years of Life on Earth, not in periods or epochs but in 2 million year increments.
dinpromo.jpgNews of the Old

This isn't a Palaeos section, but we find it useful for keeping up on the the latest events hundreds of millions of years ago ...



Use the menu bars at the top and (in longer pages) bottom of the page to navigate. There are eight main topics, each (on most pages) colour-coded in the menu bars

There are several types of menu bars on a page. At the top is the main menu which contains five cells. Clicking on the Palaeos logo in the middle will take you back to this Home page. On the left is the name Palaeos (which doesn't do anything but announce the site) and under that the main topic. Top right gives the local topic, and under that the title of the page you are on

Under the main menu is a topics menu. This includes links to other topics (colour coded).

Under the topics menu there often is a local menu which shows all the pages of the Unit you are in. A distinction has to be made between "page" and "unit". Unit is the entire topic module; this consists of a number of pages. Next Unit takes you to the next subject, while next page only takes you to next page in this Unit. Unit Home is the main page of that Unit

There may also be a small auxiliary menu bar at the bottom.



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Copyright policy -- Material other than vertebrates:  Unless otherwise specified, content M. Alan Kazlev 2002.  This material, and indeed all material on this site, unless otherwise attributed, may be freely used for non-commercial purposes. If you wish to use anything from this site commercially, please Contact Us.

Copyright policy -- Vertebrates:  This is more complicated.  (a) Material marked "MAK": as for non- vertebrates. (b) Images:  no copyright is claimed by us, but a copyright may be claimed by the source of the image if a source is indicated expressly or by implication. (c)  All other material: Augustus T. White 2002, or any other date indicated.  A general license is granted for any use, particularly commercial use.  If you can make money on it, more power to you.