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Interval of geologic time, 443.7–416 million years ago, the third period of the Paleozoic Era. The Silurian follows the Ordovician Period and precedes the Devonian. It marks the first appearance of land plants and jawed fishes. During most of this period, a vast ocean covered the northern polar region, the supercontinent of Gondwana stretched over the southern polar region, and a ring of at least six continents spanned the Equator and middle latitudes. South America and Africa were likely near the South Pole, with either present-day Brazil or western Africa as the locus of the pole. Large expanses of these continents were flooded by shallow seas which contributed to the building of coral mound reefs. During the Silurian, many faunal groups recovered from the extinctions of Late Ordovician times.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Silurian Period, visit Britannica.com.
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