First Animals on Land Talk

Thursday, January 23, 2014  |  10:30 a.m.

Long before fish-like animals began to crawl from the sea onto land, the ancestors of scorpions and snails began colonizing the terrestrial realm. This invasion first occurred 510 million years ago, and escalated in lockstep with the explosion of animal diversity that was occurring in the world’s oceans. The landscape these early pioneers invaded was very different than the world we know today. Instead of forests and meadows, the land looked like a moonscape – dissected by ropy braided rivers, giant tidal flats, and smeared with a frosting of microbial or other slime. We have constrained the identity and behaviours of the first animals, and are figuring out how they learned to adapt to terrestrial conditions.

Presented by James W. Hagadorn from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.