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p. 694. The origin of life on landlocked

  • Michael J. Benton


‘The origin of life on land’ shows that life on land is significant for two reasons: firstly, life on land represents most of modern biodiversity and secondly, life has changed the face of the Earth; before life on land, there were no soils. Earliest fungi have been dated to the Precambrian, but the first green plants on land are dated to the Ordovician, 450 million years ago, and the first vascular plants to the Mid-Silurian, 425 million years ago. Adaptation to life on land involved new ways of obtaining nutrients and water, prevention of dessication, and structural support. The earliest land animals show a transition from fish to tetrapods in the Devonian period.

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