The Proterozoic Era
Life Gets More Complex

2.5 Billion To 543 Million Years Ago

The Proterozoic Era would have been an exciting time to be an observer of life development on planet Earth. The fiery formation processes of the Hadean and the undersea continent-building of the Archaen, now were replaced by the process of tectonics.

The plates rested on a very different magma than our modern-day plates. The plates themselves were younger and thinner (funny how that works!!!) and the magma was hotter. This would have made the magma more liquid than today, so likely the continental movement would have been faster, with collisions and fractures more frequent. A single super-continent formed. Today it is called Rodinia.

At the center of Rodinia is a baby North America called Laurentia. Its western border lies next to the infants that would grow into Australia and Antarctica , while the eastern coast is next to western Africa.

The early life that formed in the Archaean, especially the autotrophs: cyanobacteria and early plants, developed into a new type of cell as a consequence of the oxygen-rich atmosphere they had created. This cell was the eukaryote, a cell that contains a nucleus. With the onset of the eukaryote, living organisms were able to join together into groups of eukaryotic cells. Toward the end of the Proterozoic, multi-cellular algae and the first multi-celled animals were the result.

Go to Geologic Time Line

For more on geologic time visit the clock of eras page

Preceeding the proterozoic era is the time of the archaean

The Paleozoic Era follows the Proterizoic Era