Paleozoic

adjective

Pa·​leo·​zo·​ic ˌpā-lē-ə-ˈzō-ik How to pronounce Paleozoic (audio)
 especially British  ˌpa-
: of, relating to, originating in, or being an era of geologic history that extends from the beginning of the Cambrian to the close of the Permian and is marked by the culmination of nearly all classes of invertebrates except the insects and in the later epochs by the appearance of terrestrial plants, amphibians, and reptiles
also : relating to the corresponding system of rocks see Geologic Time Table
Paleozoic noun

Did you know?

The Greek root zo- means "life," so names such as Paleozoic were invented to refer to a period in the development of animal life. For geologists, the Paleozoic era is followed by the Mesozoic (meso- meaning "middle"), which is followed by the Cenozoic (ceno- meaning "recent"). Eras are huge stretches of time; geologists break eras down into smaller "periods" and "epochs." Thus, the Paleozoic ends with the Permian period, the Mesozoic ends with the Upper Cretaceous epoch, and the Cenozoic ends with the Holocene epoch—the epoch in which we are living. The Paleozoic era produced the first fish, the first land plants, the first insects, and the first amphibians and reptiles; the dinosaurs, birds, and mammals had to wait for the Mesozoic.

Word History

Etymology

paleo- + -zoic entry 2

Note: See note at -zoic entry 2.

First Known Use

1838, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Paleozoic was in 1838

Dictionary Entries Near Paleozoic

Cite this Entry

“Paleozoic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Paleozoic. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

Paleozoic

adjective
Pa·​leo·​zo·​ic ˌpā-lē-ə-ˈzō-ik How to pronounce Paleozoic (audio)
: of, relating to, or being an era of geological history ending about 248,000,000 years ago in which vertebrates and land plants first appeared
also : relating to the corresponding system of rocks see geologic time
Paleozoic noun
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